whacky idea for radical redistribution of wealth
april 13 2019
i’m sitting on a plane back to san francisco and a weird thought came to my head about the morality of altruistic-yet-unsustainable businesses, in terms of the outcome on the workers they employ. the question in my head is: is it moral for a company with a bunch of funding/capital, to treat its workers well and pay them very high wages for their work (compared to market value), when it will only lead to the company running out of money and having to fire all its workers – as compared to the company being conservative with wages and workers’ well-being while offering relative job security?
i realized that a short period of earning a lot more money might be much more effective at bringing people to a higher economic status or out of poverty, than a long period of security in earning a meager amount while not enjoying the work as much. i wondered whether people would prefer going from one overpaid job to another that would each end in the company running out of money, or just working securely while earning just enough to survive.
the issue in the former case would be that the investment of whoever funds the business is lost… but i considered that this might not be the worst thing. after all, investments always have some risk of being lost and any amorality associated with running a business badly can’t necessarily be extended to include squandering the funder’s investment since they should have been aware of the risks anyway.
i imagine a whacky way to redistribute a lot of the wealth of the super-elites who often fund companies, would be to strategically offer a short-lived economic mobility boost to the workers employed by said companies. to break this down again, my premise is that: maybe you can overpay workers over a short period till the venture runs out of cash, helping them get off the ground, while not having to worry about paying back investors who willingly took that risk.
this is thoroughly hypothetical and there’s a number of obvious problems with it, but i thought it was an interesting set of adjacent thoughts with an intriguing idea at the edge.