Re: Fw: Back to Serfs and Royalty?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Sep 01 2001 - 16:37:03 MDT

Miriam English wrote:
> At 11:40 PM 31/08/2001 -0700, Spike Jones wrote:
> > Bosses' pay soars but not workers'
> >
> > WASHINGTON -- When last I took a Labor Day occasion to
> > compare the average American workers' paychecks to those of
> > their bosses, the score was 1 to 419. That was two years
> > ago.
> >
> > Olga Bourlin wrote: What would the libertarian solution be
> > for something like this? (Is there a solution?)
> >
> > Is there a problem? spike
> I would say that your question *is* part of the problem Spike.
> :-)

The numbers above are inexact. The word "bosses" is misplaced
as most worker's boss is a low to mid-level manager. These
people certainly do not make 419 times what their employees do.
By the imprecise language quoted the statement is much more
inflammatory than is remotely justified.

In the high tech world it is not that uncommon for senior
engineers to make as much or more than their manager or to be so
close in salary as to make little difference.

> Joking aside, the problem, as I see it, is that it is an
> unstable system. It will switch over one day, and it can do
> that gently or violently or somewhere between those extremes,
> but the more unstable it becomes, the more likely the
> restoring swing will be sudden and unpleasant. History shows
> that much at least.

This stuff has been claimed since the beginning of the
industrial revolution and before in feudal states. But unlike
in feudal states in a free economy the economy itself will
adjust compensation levels if the get too out-of-whack. If I
can find top executives and deploy them at a tenth of what other
enterprises can then clearly I will win by doing so. If
top-rate executives are actually rare enough and enough in
demand then their salaries are not out of line with supply and
demand. It is no more complex or any more of a tragedy than
that. I would also point out that for most start-ups the
compensation package is largely theoretical beyond a base-salary
which is certainly not astronomical. The rest depends on making
it to IPO with a solid enough company to make the stock
incentives worth something real.

- samantha

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