By Gatuyu Justice
Thomas Piketty in his best seller, “Wealth in the 21st century”, laments that 90% of universal wealth is held by 1% of world population. Senator Bernie Sanders was writhing and fuming over this fact throughout his campaign.The rest of the population eke their living by working for owners of capital in return for incomes (salaries).
But alas! Among the earthlings working for incomes, we are seeing a huge disparity in rewarding of labour and therefore creating a most unequal society.“The disparities of incomes is alarming. The Gino coefficient of the Lorentz curve (a measure of income distributions) is increasing at an unacceptable rate” notes Dambisa Moyo writing in Project Syndicate. Holding other factors constant, it would be fair, if you are in the business of hawking labour, then hawk it to the highest bidder, without apologies, without remorse. But will the market allow?
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An example. We have two graduate teachers; same grades, same potentials. They respectively, secure their first jobs, as BOG teacher and as a trainee in a leading audit firm. As per the current market trends, the salary difference between the two will be huge. So will be their material accumulation. They will never get on equal footing. Most probably, they will never.
The job markets are awash with cheap labour. Job seekers are behaving like twilight girls in red light district, upgrading grades, updating resumes, all in sole hope of catching the eye of a well-rewarding capitalist.So said Michael Spence in his seminal “Job market signalling”, works that would win him a Nobel prize for Economic science. Employers are recruiting under uncertainty, Spence argued,and they will take in job seeker who issues the catchiest signal.
Upon getting a job, a rat race begins. The employed struggle to vindicate their bosses, that they did not error in hiring them. Work hard boy. Score high in appraisals girl. And you will dine in my banquet.It is okay if such efforts are well compensated. If the capitalist shares returns from the industry fairly. If not, unfortunately, a worker will one day wake up to reality that they have been offering a fellatio to a capitalist who never attains orgasm.
The scenario is however different when working for government. In public service, it will depend on one’s mentality. Are you in the business of employment or are you in the business of serving humanity? The answer to this question most certainly influences our narrative.For those who are in the public service to serve humanity, duty should be primary, pay secondary. However, those who view public service as employment, they should treat the government as any other capitalist.
The only way to address the grand inequality of income is having market with more job creators than seekers. This will see markets awash with start ups. It will take away supply of surplus labour, hiking the rewards and incentives. The capitalist will be forces to reward more in order to attract scarce labour. As along as their is abundance of supply of labour, inequalities in incomes will continue bulging, so will the social divide, resulting to most unequal society. Who is that, to save the son of widow in need?