Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Power of Ideas on Value and the “Redistribution of Wealth”

There is something about the human mind that finds meaning and significance in everything of the world. This significance or meaning translates into some arbitrary value on the basis of some currency. These items of significance present burdens on the world and its people when necessity and want get confused. People go to buy Hummers while other people can barely afford clothes, and others are reconstructing their 30,000 square foot mansions while people are dying of AIDS because they cannot afford modern retrovirals.

I can understand wanting a car that operates well and even extremely efficiently, yet the phenomena of H2’s and Ferraris baffles me. These cars range from 40,000 to millions of dollars and what are they used for? I guarantee 80 percent of people with H2’s never go off road or enter some kind of insurgence assault. The key is the idea behind the car. An Italian company puts a really powerful engine in the wrong end of the car, adds some curves, and the value multiplies by 10 because of some “rare” factor. H2’s, designed from the army’s HumV, has been designated some kind of “badass” vehicle, while getting about 9 mpg (if even), which leads true “badasses” to pay about 40K for their vehicle to represent their true selves. It does not matter the product. The higher the price of it translates into its value or meaning in society. The Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most well known and valuable paintings in existence, yet, if the idea of genius and age were not behind it, I wouldn’t pay more than four or five dollars for it at a yard sale. It really is not that great of a painting no matter how many times I have been told of its wonder and mystery throughout my life. These expensive and valuable things are not necessary, but the people, in search of higher social standing, flock to the opportunity of owning such luxuries in some illusion of accomplishment or importance.

Doctors and CEO’s spend time in their huge homes while others can’t even afford them, but people try to justify the doctor as if he is the protagonist of society and deserves such luxuries. I know that there are many blue collar workers who work just as hard as the doctor. I understand a high salary for the sake of paying off student loans, but after the debt is gone, they are working just as hard as the cook at waffle house or the secretary in the CEO’s office. Doctors that I have talked to even strongly agree with such statements (at least the ones who are doctors for the sake of being doctors and not the pay). So this is the reason I think everyone deserves the same pay and why I support Obama’s “redistribution of wealth.” I recognize the illusion of value in society and its deteriorating influence. I only believe this though because of the unequal distribution of opportunity in the world and in our society. If the laziest actually made up the population of those in poverty, I would say to help themselves (to a certain one should die for a want to be lazy), but I grew up in an extremely poor neighborhood and have seen its school systems and inescapable cycles. I was just lucky enough to have one rich parent. So with this “redistribution,” I hope to see people find that real worth is not correlated with currency or salary and overpower the superficial ideas of today’s consumerism.


Cal said...

I totally agree about the redistribution of wealth and the ridiculous nature of material excess in America. I think that teachers should be paid a lot more than they are now. They have one, if not the most important jobs in our society. Today's teacher must deal with so much more than just lesson plans and lecturing, like creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere and just being caring in general. Yet they are hardly compensated. It is extremely ironic that we value doctors and lawyers on such a exponentially higher pay scale, yet by necessity they are produced by teachers. I realize their are student motivation and achievement factors, but the fact remains that they must be taught. Since I have aspirations of becoming a teacher (not professor), it would be nice to receive more compensation, but frankly, the education of the future children an the care that I can provide for a fellow human being are compensation enough that I would adapt to living in a lower economic bracket. A must read for everyone should be Nel Noddings "Caring."

lynn s said...

If everyone gets the same amount of money for all types of work, then people will be inclined to slack off, because they know that no matter what they do, they will still receive the same amount of money as the next person. So, while this theory sounds great, it isn't in reality.

Ryan Carroll said...

Thats true if everyone were getting paid no matter what. If they are lazy then I propose they get fired just like now which would then allow them to do work or starve. That is their decision

Or maybe (I just thought of this) implementing a salary cap on industry. We have a minimum wage...why not a maximum?