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The Hardest Workers Will Be Ripped Off by Egalitarianism

Before we begin to explain why putting in an extra effort has rewards within the AEM's Egalitarian society, we should first mention a number of things.

The hardest working people in Australia and elsewhere are already being ripped off big time. Do you really think that the 5% of the population, who own 80% of the nation's wealth, are the hardest working people in our society? And do you think that they work 100 to 2000 times harder, or in the case of Bill Gates, 20,000 times harder than the rest of us? Sadly, in the capitalist society, money is usually what makes money, and hard work only gets you so far, if you're lucky.

Please remember that we are talking about the hardest working people. That is, we are not talking about the smartest, the more gifted, the strongest, the shrewdest, the more educated, those who sell more product, those who are higher in the chain of command, those who are more popular, those who have more responsibility, or those who are descended from hard workers or conquerors. These criteria require different replies as to why these people have no claim to receiving more. See our 'The Capitalist Scam (Part 3)' web page for some of these replies. However, as we have just seen, within our capitalist society, we have already accepted many reasons as to why the hardest working people don't receive the highest pay. So why do you now care that they won't in an Egalitarian society?

If we were going to do the big thing, and admit that those involved in hard physical labour are the hardest working people in society, then the hardest workers are currently being ripped off more than any other group of workers because they only receive low to average wages. And the hardest of the hard workers, the labourers, get paid even less. In fact, it is because people are poor that we can exploit their desperation by making them do the hardest work of all, for next to nothing. Therefore, by going into Egalitarianism, the hardest workers are going to get the best deal in the history of these workers because they are finally going to receive as much pay as the rest of us.

If you'd like to forget about the truth for a minute, and instead refer to the hardest workers as being the hardest workers in a particular industry or the hardest workers amongst a group of similar workers, then we can probably find more examples than not within our capitalist society where the hardest workers, including those who work longer, don't receive any more pay than the others. Some of these people are working hard for their society. Some because their job is also their quest in life. Others are putting in the big effort to just to keep their job. Strangely however, and once again, you have never shown any concern for these hard workers before, and you are never likely to again, even after we point them out to you. So, why would you be considering this issue as being a rational reason not to venture into Egalitarianism? Let's discuss some of these hard workers.

Universities are filled with scientists who work 10 – 14 hours per day, 6 days a week. Generally, these scientists are not driven by money, except for the benefits that money can provide in funding more research. Many are driven by their own desire to solve questions and problems, and perhaps by their desire to be respected within the scientific community and appreciated by the public. However, most of these scientists need to work long hours in order to retain their university positions within this highly competitive arena, and so they do. And even though we will try to make this practice unnecessary within an Egalitarian society, we won't be able to stop it, regardless of the rate of pay. However, of all the people in Australia (and in the world), we believe that scientists and other academics are amongst the strongest supporters of Egalitarianism. This is not because they are more educated (although it helps), or because Egalitarianism means a massive expansion of education and scientific research, but because most scientists are into their work; and not into money. Further, scientists are also that group of people who are responsible for the majority of all scientific and technological advances. However, within the capitalist society, while some scientist can become extremely wealthy, most scientist are rewarded in other ways when they advance our scientific knowledge or when they proffer credible theories. That is. they gain further academic qualifications and more ability to direct their scientific research in the direction they wish to go, and the same is true in the AEM's Egalitarian society (but we will discuss this shortly).

Generally, public school teachers don't receive more pay when they work harder or longer than other school teachers. Customer service, clerical, and administration staff rarely receive more pay for working harder or better. Not counting over-time, most tradespersons don't receive more pay for being a harder or faster worker. Nor do many labourers. Many people, particularly those in lower and middle management positions, who often work 50 - 60 hours a week are on very moderate salaries. In fact, if the workers under them worked the same hours, they would take home more pay than most of these managers. Not only do companies often expect their managers to make their job their life, they too are virtually forced to work these long hours just to remain competitive. But the truth is, most of these people put up with these working conditions (even when the chances a high that they won't advance further) in order to avoid the real hard work. 

In our capitalist society, this occurs because usually, it is up to the boss to offer the hardest workers more, but bosses do not like setting this ‘more’ too high because it begins a rat race amongst employers to acquire the hardest workers. As you know employers are always motivated to keep the wages of the workers as low as possible as one of the strategies associated with increasing the company’s profit margins. To stop this rat race for the employers, for most occupations, federal and state award wages set the rate of pay. And this is why no matter how hard a secretary or carpenter might work, their wages will not usually go much over the award wage. Setting award wages sounds as though it is in the interests of the worker, which it is to a fair extent, but as you can see, it is also very much in the interests of the employers, and could even be described as a form of legalised collusion. Now, employers can motivate employees to work harder by threatening them with their jobs, rather than by offering more money, because the worker cannot acquire higher wages elsewhere. So once again, in our capitalist society, we see that the hardest workers are usually those who are ripped-off.

Also, the option of working harder is not available to everybody. For example, a large percentage of the working population do not have the opportunity to work longer (i.e. to do overtime). Workers unions proffer the view that if you have enough work on, don't offer overtime, employ more workers instead. This is what we think too, but strangely, the workers in many highly unionised companies not only do lots of overtime, they are seduced by the promise of plenty of overtime. Why, it can even be expected of one. Commission and piecemeal work are also used as an incentive for people to work longer and harder, but once again, these opportunities are not available to the majority of workers.

Also, many people who would like to move into more lucrative occupations, and who are prepared to work very hard to achieve it, find that they cannot escape the occupation that they have been in for years. Nowadays, employers want to hire workers who have experience, particularly recent experience, rather than risk spending money on training workers who may not stay. As such, if you have been in an occupation for only a few years, you will have no (recent) experience in any other job, which means that almost all employers are not interested in you for the job. That is, people become trapped in their jobs, and the pay associated with it regardless of how hard they work.

You might suggest that these people could become students of more lucrative professions, but once again, not everybody is allowed to, or can afford to become a student. Oh well, bad luck. You'll just have to stay poor. That's capitalism for you. 

The reason why many people choose to work harder than the rest is not because they just happen to work harder and therefore expect to be rewarded more for it. They work harder as a deliberate strategy to get ahead (economically) of the rest. That is, they want more than others, which is a normal and sensible desire to develop within any economically stratified society, and working harder (for some workers) is how they achieve it. We actually do accept that people who work harder or longer than the rest do deserve to be rewarded more for their efforts, but not necessarily when this extra work is not asked for, and this reward doesn't need to be more money, but we will discuss this shortly. However, when working harder or longer is accepted as a valid reason to receive a higher wage, a different type of rat race develops, and this can already be seen in our contemporary capitalist culture. That is, Australians now spend more time at work than ever before, and we also work more than the workers of most other countries. This is a never ending game, where people are forced to do more and more work just to keep up, and where employers expect employees to work more and more just to keep their jobs. In the end, higher pays become the average wage, and therefore, nobody actually gets ahead by working harder, and workers who only work normal hours or at normal rates struggle to survive. Take away the ability to convert more work into more money and the culture settles down to what is sensible amounts of daily work. Steady as she goes is the motto, rather than work hard now and suffer from burnout later. But in the capitalist society, working more is going to continue to increase forever.

Often, people who start a business need to work extremely hard, sometimes for many years, and they also need to cope with the stress of risking their investment in their business, which may have been partly borrowed. As such, it is not surprising that they believe that they should be rewarded for their efforts when that business starts to pay off. However, this is only a circumstance of the capitalist society. Starting a business is a far less demanding and economically traumatic experience within an Egalitarian society (See our 'The Humanised Workplace' web page for more details), although one should expect to put in some extra effort if one chooses to be in charge of one's creation of a business.

But in a functional (i.e. Egalitarian) society, wanting to have more than others is regarded as immature and invalid. To those people who work harder because they want more money than the rest of us, we say "Then don't work harder, and then you won't feel as though you are being cheated. We don't need you to work harder than everybody else and we are not asking you to work harder. We only want you to do what you agreed to do. We can't see any social benefit in you working harder: we can only see that you want more than the rest. You need to let go of the idea of living out your childish and self-serving fantasies. To demand to be able to work harder so that you can then demand more for it is to dominate your society, and this is unacceptable."

In the AEM's Egalitarian society, hard work is rewarded. As in our capitalist society, the workplace is a competitive arena in which hard workers will ....

  • find it easier to advance; 
  • find it easier to gain other jobs or scholarships; 
  • gain more ability to direct their own careers or research; and 
  • find it easier to be their own boss or be trusted to work unsupervised (although this does not mean that most of the workers in supervised occupations are considered lazy). 

Also, not being able to have more than others is not to say that we cannot publicly (or privately) acknowledge (and even decorate) those workers who go beyond the call of duty and come up with the results.

But as we have said, we are not seeking to encourage people to work harder than others, and workers who put in an average day's work can expect to gradually progress from various types of physical labour to various types of non-physical labour as they grow older, and to do this in a reasonably non-stressful, economically comfortable way. However, if by chance we do ask you to work harder or longer for some period, we would rather give you time off in lieu, or add time to you annual holidays or long service, or deduct time from your retirement age, or allow you to do more hours in a job your interested in. Anything but give you more money.

Generally, those who have the loudest (or the only) voice within our capitalist society will be apposed to equal wages. These people are those intellectuals and managers, particularly those within large companies and politicians, who are currently receiving very high wages. And their arguments may well be based on how hard and long they work. However, if they do work harder and longer, then we can divide their workload between more workers within an Egalitarian society, while still providing these services to the public at a much cheaper cost (because it will still be cheaper than the very high wages that these people are currently awarding to themselves).

Consider this. The workplace is a place where people with different roles, skills, and aptitudes work together as a team to achieve goals, similar to a game of amateur football where players with different roles, skills, and attributes work hard together to win a game. As a player in an amateur football team, you want to do your best for your team and be respected by your team mates. And naturally, you feel bad when you let the team down. Now, every team has its better players, and they derive pleasure from knowing that they are one of the better players and they hope that they will always be one of the better players. In fact, most of us fantasize about being a remarkably gifted athlete in all the sports we play. Being a good player publicly states something empowering about one's self, one's genes, one's health, one's determination, one's physical prowess, one's character, and quite a list of other things that one can fantasize about. As such, being one of the better players serves to boost one's self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of being respected, which are intuitively desirable things for any social animal. And being good at the game in turn motivates people to believe that the game is a great game, and it also motivates people to want to play again. And this boost to the best players' self-esteem is experienced and reinforced every time they play a good game, and particularly so when they or the team wins the game, and even more so when a crowd is watching. But never do any of these better players go home thinking that she or he should have received some monetary reward for being one of the best players. It never enters their heads. Instead, the emotional and social benefits (and possibly the strenuous exercise) are the rewards that keep these players coming back and trying their best again and again. In fact, some will come back even though they are carrying painful injuries, and many resist being taken off the field when they are injured (just like in professional football). And they do this because they don't want to let their team down and because they want to play. However, if the stars of amateur football had always received a monetary reward for being the stars, they would now feel cheated when it was decided to no longer provide this monetary reward. This would be a normal reaction. Nobody ever wants to surrender what they have come to accept as their right, especially anything that empowers them, including anything that empowers them within an economically stratified social environment, such as money. Typically, nobody wants to let go of money even when they know they don't deserve it. Now, the respect and appreciation of the team and the spectators, and the boost to one's self-esteem are not enough. And the same would be true if the forwards (in soccer) received an income because they're the ones who score the goals. And this is the situation that capitalism has perpetuated in the workplace, and what the AEM intends to stop the reproduction of by installing an Egalitarian constitution.

You know, once upon a time, no A-grade footballers received any money to play either. You might suggest that when money was introduced, it attracted better players, who were now prepared to put their bodies on the line for this money. And perhaps you're right, but in the workplace, those who currently receive lucrative wages never put their bodies on the line, and instead avoid physical exertion and damage like the plague. So we don't think that we will have any trouble filling these positions with the best people. And in the AEM's Egalitarian society, the most brilliant players/workers won't be working longer or harder either. Also, when more money is not offered to the best players, we still end up with a pretty good game/product to watch and enjoy. It may or may not be as impressive, but for the price, it's certainly good enough to keep the fans happy, and there is probably a lot less cheating going on, which is motivated more so by the players'/workers' desire to keep the money coming in. And because we live in an economically stratified society, and because one can't be a star forever, one is highly motivated to get as much money as one can, while one can because later, when one is too old, slow, and sore, there may be no money coming in. This reflects the economic insecurity that prevails within all capitalist societies. Whereas in the AEM's Egalitarian society, if you are participating to the level that is expected of you, you can expect to receive the same income as everybody else throughout your life.


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