Thursday, November 8, 2012

Five Reasons That "Every Man for Himself" Doesn't Work

1. Not every person is capable of being a CEO or executive.

We are not all born with equal opportunities in this life. Anyone who tells you that is either lying or trying to sell you something (probably a right-wing philosophy). It may sound cruel, but in reality, it's true. Every mother may think that her child is a genius, but in the end, we all have differing levels of intelligence. Not everyone is smart enough to run a company, or operate on another person's brain. For some people, running a deep fryer, or working in some other low-paying job is the best that they are capable of. Are you one of the ones who is extremely intelligent? Fantastic. Guess what? It's as much of a fluke of nature as it is that you were born in a first world country, rather than a dictator-run, third world country constantly hit by natural disasters. Consider yourself lucky and have some compassion for those who weren't born with your gifts.

2. If everyone was a CEO/doctor/lawyer, who would serve them their fancy lunches or drive their airport limo?

The world is simply not set up for everyone to be in a position of power and influence. SOMEONE needs to be on the base of the pyramid. They may not be the ones who run things, but they are the ones who keep things running. You can't have a successful factory without the people on the shop floor, running the machines.

3. Working hard doesn't necessarily equal monetary rewards.

"You have no idea how hard a CEO works." Yeah, I've heard that one before. I have worked for senior executives for years. I know the insane hours that they put in. But what about the parent working two minimum wage jobs, 60-80hrs per week, just to pay rent & buy food? What about labourers working outdoors in freezing cold temperatures in winter, and broiling hot in summer? Don't they deserve seven-figure salaries, too?

4. No one NEEDS millions of dollars.

This is admittedly a bit of hyperbole on my part: there are, in fact, people who need, for whatever reason (I'm thinking of medical care, but I'm sure there are other reasons) millions of dollars to survive. These people are not the ones about whom I'm speaking. The average person - or even the average family - does not need millions of dollars to survive. I actually sat down and thought about it once, and if I were to win $5,000,000, taken care of properly, my family could probably survive on that for the rest of our lives, easily, with a comfortable house, food to eat, and a nice vacation every year. I get that people have different priorities, and if you work hard, you should be able to have a new sports car, or a boat, or an emu farm, if that's what you really want. I also know that someone making millions of dollars per year can have all of that, and still afford to pay a "high" tax rate - you know, more than 10-15% - without suffering. Suffering is choosing which meals you're going to eat this week, because you haven't got enough to buy groceries for three meals a day. Suffering is NOT only having one live-in nanny for your two kids.

5. It's just not nice.

Yeah, this isn't a logical argument. I get that. But the truth is, I will just never understand the idea that it's okay to say, "my family and I are okay, so screw everyone else."  I hate hearing people make the assumption that everyone who is struggling is a "welfare bum" or is too lazy to help themselves. God forbid that those people ever go through a hard time beyond their control.

Sometimes, a bit of human compassion can go a long way.