Monday, 3 August 2015

Fairness: A Wolf In Sheep's Cloathing

Seattle CEO Dan Price (who announced a $70k min wage for his employees) and Mr. Trudeau have much in common: they both believe in a fairer world.  Like Price, Trudeau wants to make fairness a theme of his endeavors.  Let’s take a peek at Price's experiment to see how fairness is working out.

 According to several reports, the credit card processor company is struggling to phase in every single employee to a $70,000 minimum wage; which appears to be the least of his problems.

Let’s be fair and pay everyone the same!! (Resounding cheers!)

Here are the highlights: the CEO took over a 90% pay cut and is under duress to make ends meet personally.  Most of the profits ($2.2 million from last year) were spent on the first phase of increasing wages. 

Reported ‘unintended consequences’ (that were entirely predictable to any sensible individual) are: people feel they are not earning their money as they are being ‘overpaid’; which is putting stress on them.  Others allegedly are not working hard because they make so much money they have no incentive to advance.  People are also complaining of income gaps citing their skills and contributions are higher than other people’s…yet the pay remains even. Finally, Mr. Price’s brother is suing for not respecting his minority rights within the company.

As I explain to my children; there are many aspects of life that are not fair.  Socially engineering your fairness doctrine (in this case, private) results in other aspects of unfairness…“Now the people who were just clocking in and out were making the same as me,” he complained. “It shackles high performers to less motivated team members.”

My grave concern with Mr. Trudeau is he views fairness in the same way Mr. Price does…with one caveat: Mr. Trudeau wants to explore this notion with your money…and my money as a politician!  This “central planning” agenda is far more irrational, disturbing then his views on asking students to re-think elements as basic as space and time because it deals with our money and our kids future and we are not talking about $2.2million either.

Defining fairness as ‘everyone gets the same result’ is a devastating approach to a real problem; meeting people’s needs.  Constraining free markets with labor laws, endless regulations and burdensome taxes is the problem that will hurt the middle and lower class as manipulation is a poor form of control.

A free market based on personal freedoms and liberty remains the only hope for a stronger middle class. Incentive to work, gaining skills and advancing based on increased productivity are at the core of a strong economy and weathering future recessions. Compassion from our free will remains the most effective way to help those less fortunate or those lacking higher value skills that command higher rates of pay.  

Given Mr. Trudeau wants us to rethink our capitalist system, I would argue we need to seriously constrain the government’s ability to interfere in choices the free market makes and then will see a blossoming of the middle class and hope for lower income Canadians.  Mr. Price gives us a really neat peak into Turdeau’s “space and time” world where fairness is at the core.  Benevolence does not generate profits…increased productivity does. Fairness under the guise of benevolence is the enemy of learning advancing and increased productivity.

I propose Mr. Trudeau should take his money and invest it in his own company with his perfect fairness doctrine controlling how things should run.  After he models the success of this operation…THEN (and only then) can he make an argument to all Canadians about fairness.  Until then, look to Mr. Price and decide for yourself if that’s what you want Canada to look like.


Mr. Trudeau, I have re-thought elements as basic as space and time.  Mr. Price is losing space and time is running out: fairness is the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  

Watch out for fairness.

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