Thursday, 3 September 2009

How About A Maximum Wage?

We hear much about the minimum wage and how it has been used to drag up the wages of the poorest workers. It was one of the few things Tony Blair deserves a slap on the back for.
What we also hear and screech about is the sky high wages paid to the bosses of these poorest workers, men and women earning tens of millions a year.
So if the Government can impose a minimum wage which says what the least a firm can pay its employees, why can we not have a maximum wage that does the same?
Why pussyfoot around, just slap down a £1m per annum maximum. Nobody could moan about not being able to live on a million a year. The extra goes back into the pot to lower prices or for improvements.
Another idea is to have a pay range that dictates that there must not be more than a x10 discrepancy between the firms top earner and lower earner. That would have the benefit of if the top guys demand an obscene amount in their pay packet, then the little guy also benefits by his wages rising to keep within the range.
The talk seems to be that we are finally coming out the other side of the recession and it seems that nothing has changed whatsoever.
The financial sector is back to paying themselves astronomical bonuses and company bosses are watching their bank balances rise by several noughts. Those who bore the brunt of the recession have lost jobs, homes and in some cases their families, but they still face exactly the same set of circumstances as before only they will have to pay for the misdeeds of others in the way of cuts in services and higher prices.
I say it is unfair that those who can least afford it have to suffer while those who caused all the mess in the first place go back to their previous practises and as it is the mighty pound they seek the most, that's where we should hit them.
If the Government is not prepared to bring about equality by upping the minimum wages, let's do it from the top and have a maximum wage and if the top earners don't like it, let them go stick their noses in someone else's trough and get in people who will.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

why can't you just let the owners of the company determine that?

q

Lucy said...

As we saw by the minimum wage Q, they can't be trusted to do it.

Anonymous said...

if owners are such cheap bastards that we have to use law to make them raise pay (minimum wage), then how come we need maximum wages? it is not logical!

owners pay what they must to get the employees (whether a grunt or a vice president) they desire. they don't intentionally pay a penny (or a pound) more than they must.

oh, i forgot, you think the government (the people with the guns and prisons) should make the decisions, not the owners (the people that have invested their money and are taking the risk)... ;-O

q

Cheezy said...

I don't like the idea of the government sticking its jackboot in, to determine a maximum wage... The minimum wage is a different thing, and is inspired by the whole 'social welfare' ethos (as well as the laudable economic goal of ensuring that people who tend to spend the bulk of their monthly wage have enough of the stuff to grease the wheels of industry effectively)... I agree with Q that the owners and risk-takers should determine how much they pay their executives. Big salaries may get a lot of headlines these days, but I'm hoping that the current restructuring of the financial system will be more to do with increasing the transparency of financial activity, allowing us to correctly assess the risk of various institutions' lending policies, as well as stopping the reward of activities that are profitable in the short-term, but amount to building up a precarious house-of-cards in the long-term. The private sector rhetoric has trumpeted that excellence always gets rewarded and incompetence punished, but we've seen, this is certainly not invariably so.

Lucy said...

My thinking is that if there is a minimum amount that the Government / big business decides a person needs to live on, why is there not the same at the other end of the scale?
Shamefully, it has to come from the Government imposing it because business won't do it. I remember the furore when the minimum wage was first mentioned and how business fought tooth and nail against it until Blair and his Labour Party gave them no choice and forced it upon them. Left to business it would still be at the discussion stage.

effay said...

The big problem with a max wage is that it will lead to a mass exodus of talented professionals to countries without it. This is particularly true if the wage were set at 1 million pounds (which is about 1.6 million dollars). Such a low max wage would lead to an insane exodus of talent. In fact, even if every country on Earth enacted a 1 million pound max wage, it still wouldn't work because excessive payments would just be made on the black market.

It's just unfortunately true that there are people who are worth 1 million times more than other people from an economic standpoint.

Cheezy said...

"My thinking is that if there is a minimum amount that the Government / big business decides a person needs to live on, why is there not the same at the other end of the scale?"
Because there's a social need and an economic advantage to a minimum wage, but no social need and no economic advantage (in fact it's more like a disadvantage) to a maximum wage?

Lucy said...

I will stick it in my manifesto along with paying everyone the same. (i do like that idea)
I actually prefer linking the pay so the discrepancy between the top earner and lowest earner is no more than x10 although that figure is negotiable.

Anonymous said...

pay everyone the same huh?

so, would your manifesto say that everyone should get paid even if they don't work?

or does your manifesto say that everyone should get paid the same, but they must at least try to work?

what if nobody cares about what a person produces? suppose you grow corn and i make mud pies? will i get to eat your corn? or are you going to tell me what i have to do when i work?

what if i do what you tell me to do and i grow corn... so, you and i are both corn farmers... you produce enough corn to feed yourself... i grow enough corn to feed a small child... will we share the corn and at the end of the day so we all have a bite of corn, but we are all also still hungry?

i think you are really the new first lady of japan and you have stolen Lucy's blogger identity...

q

Lucy said...

Konnichiha Q.
All this was covered in my earlier post when i initially pitched the idea. It's on here somewhere and i'll put the link here if you haven't found it by the next time i look in. As i recall it wasn't that well received.

Actually the idea came to me while i was being behing held hostage by the Loch Ness monster.