Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blog #16 - 4 Questions on profit and salaries

Please pick one of the following questions that we discussed in class on Wednesday:

1. Marx believed that profit = exploitation, b/c the people who took the profit didn't necessarily earn it. The workers never get a share of the profit (or rarely do like the Big 3's profit sharing checks), so Marx believed that the owners didn't deserve those profits.
- Do you agree with Marx? Why or why not?

A Swedish website explains profit = exploitation better than I did:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's take on Marx:

2. One of the qualifications for taking federal bailout funds is that CEOs' salaries are limited to $500,000 / year. Do you think that this limitation on CEOs' salaries is a good or bad idea? Why?

"Why CEOs Are Overpaid" article -

Top TARP handouts, top CEOs salaries, CNN -

3. Some people look at the expenses that companies have spent and feel that certain people are extremely overpaid. Why do some CEOs get paid millions even while their company is failing? Forbes magazine ranks the best-performing CEOs and the most overpaid leaders of failing companies. Some people have been talking about limiting all salaries, regardless of industry. What do you think about that? Why?

New York Times' article, "You Try To Live on $500K in This Town."

4. Do you think the gap / disparity between salaries (for example, between entertainers or sports figures and doctors, lawyers, etc.) is justifiable, especially in today's economy?

Russell Bishop's article, "What Myth Are You Stuck In?"


  1. Katie Rothenberg 3rd hour

    I believe the qualification for taking federal bailout funds is that CEO's salaries are limited to $500,000 a year has its good parts and its bad parts, but is overall a good idea.

    I feel the company is getting bailed out, its really not right for their CEO's to be making millions of dollars per year. You can't give the company CEO's so much credit and act like they couldn't be replaced for people who will accept the $500,000 a year with open arms. I feel that if a company is in such bad condition it has to take federal loans then they should have reduced the CEO's salaries from the millions of dollars they make per year before even asking for the bailouts. Its time for the ridiculous ways of these companies to change and we need to get our economy up and running, and in the process there will be sacrifices made. The bottom line is what they make is too much, and once the loans are payed back, the CEO salaries can go back up to the millions of dollars a year the were making prior to this recession.

    A bad thing about the salary cut could be that the CEO's go to other countries and work, making huge salaries again and also helping that countries businesses prosper instead of helping ours get back to where it used to be.

  2. Response to Question #2:

    I believe that this limitation on a CEO’s salary is a great idea. These are companies who found themselves in so much trouble that they had to ask the federal government for financial help. It would not be wise to just let these companies have the money without any conditions. It is amazing to me how much a CEO of a major corporation can actually make. I mean they make millions upon millions of dollars every year, but apparently, some of them have not been doing such a great job recently. I remember hearing about the big car companies who went to receive the bailout money in their private jets. If I was in charge of the money, I would take this as a sign that they must not need my help that bad. Then, they did not even have an exceptional plan for how they were going to get out of trouble. Personally, I do not know if this money is going to make a big difference because the American auto industry needs to have their focus on how to make their products better. Then maybe people would actually want to buy their cars. In general, the bailout money needs to be used for constructive purposes and not for paying a CEO millions of dollars. $500,000 should be more than enough for someone who is in trouble. Maybe now it will light a fire under them to make better choices for their companies and their workers.

    Brittany C.
    3rd Hour

  3. When the US Government bails out a company they are nearly in bankruptcy. When a company is heading near bankruptcy they should be cutting all excess spending and costs in as many ways possible. One way this can be done is by cutting the CEO’s salary if it is extremely high. Although one person is technically the head of the company his or her own talent will not affect companies stocks that much. I do think that it is a good idea for the federal government to be limiting CEO’s salaries to $500,000. This should already be done anyway if a company is about to go bankrupt.
    What I find amusing is that companies try to explain off why they are paying their CEO so much because of "Pay for performance" this is BS. If a company is about to go bankrupt I am assuming they are not doing well. But somehow the CEO is still getting a high salary. If a CEO is getting paid based on a "Pay for performance" scale they should be getting a low salary for a while because the companies must not have been doing well for a while for it to be going bankrupt. So what I am saying is that if "Pay for performance" actually exists there really would be no need for the government to be limiting the salaries of CEO’s.
    One Reason to justify limit on CEO salaries is that since these companies are being bailed out by the Government the American tax payers are really bailing out these companies. Since I don’t think that average Joe tax payer wants to see the CEO of companies making millions of dollars while he is struggling to make his mortgage.
    Michael Blake
    3rd Hour

  4. The idea that most troubles me is the idea that one would even think about limiting all salaries regardless of industry. Let's face it, the drive to do well in today's American world is to make more money. If one was to limit the salaries of everyone, then those who have hit the salary cap would most likely lose all motivation to even try as hard anymore. Once you lose the motivation to try anymore at anything, often careless mistakes are made, which can add up into giant issues. Say, for instance, doctors are at the top of this payment cap. What say, is their motivation to make the best diagnoses possible? You'd see all professional sports become more boring, simply because there's no reason to be the best and make the best plays when everyone is getting paid the same, and there's no bonus if they win.

    Also, capping salaries wouldn't be fair to anyone in any industry. There are some professions, like being a doctor, that require years and years of work and training. Would it be fair if a doctor, who spends years and years in medical school (having no life at all) gets paid the same as a horse massage person? There's also the jobs that require pure talent, like artists and athletes. It really just doesn't sound fair that the talented and hard working ones must be limited by pay just so those who don't work as hard can obtain more money.

    -Abbie Schreier

  5. Question #3
    I think that if salaries were limited then there would be a lot of problems. If they were to limit all salaries then many people would start to complain. Many people would claim that they should be able to make as much money as they want. I believe that people who actually work hard and aren't just handed their money should be able to make as much money as they want. People who inherit their business or don't work very hard should have a cap on their salaries. The limiting of salaries would be a good thing for our country and our economy. But I just think there would be too much controversy and problems over it. All these problems wouldn't allow it to happen because there would be too many rich people complaining. All of these CEOs and extremely wealthy people are never satisfied with the amount of money they have. If there were ever to be a limit on salaries, I think that all of these rich people would find a way around it because they just have to have large amounts of money. I believe that the obnoxiously rich have ruined our country by the way they live. Everyone wants what these rich people have. People have become more greedy. There is no need for these people to have more than 15 million dollars. 15 million is still a ridiculous amount of money, but if everyone stopped there than our middle and lower classes would become stronger. I think that limits would be good for our country, but it's just not possible in this day and age.
    Jake B. 4th hr

  6. 4. Do you think the gap / disparity between salaries (for example, between entertainers or sports figures and doctors, lawyers, etc.) is justifiable, especially in today's economy?

    I think that there is a big gap between salaries of different people and I really dont think it is fair. I think that it is reasonable entertainers get a large salary, but only because that is what they are meant to do. They are meant to entertain people. I was asking my dad what he thought of this and he said that the entertainers whole purpose is to make sure they make people happy. He used Tiger Woods and golf as an example. He likes watching Tiger play because it is something my dad likes to do whenever he can. He gets enjoyment from watching it and it makes him happy. Its the same way with TV shows, whether series or reality shows. They are paid lots so that they have the viewers (our) safisfaction. The one big problem I have with the loads of money those people make is when they dont put some of it to good use, like donating it to a charity. Look at what U2 has done and Bono with all the Product Red items. You see phones, bags, cards, clothing all sponsors of Product Red. I think it is great when they can give back to the people that need help, such as all the different childrens shelters and activity places some stars have helped. I feel like doctors and other medical professionals should get a larger salary. They earn their way up to the top by taking classes and going to school and working hard for their dream. I am not saying stars dont work hard for theirs because I am sure they do, just in a different way. I mean doctors help save peoples lives and I just think that they should be getting a little more credit for it.

    Nicole M
    3rd Hour

  7. Kate Goforth
    4.There are defiantly varying salaries in today’s job market, but I think that for the most part the difference in salary is justifiable. I think that higher salaries are given to those who have the greatest talent. For instance the difference between an executive’s pay and a secretary’s pay is that there are less people who can do the job of an executive than there are who can do the job of a secretary. In another comparison there are less people who can be a pro-football player than who can be executives.

    There is a point when the salaries’ of these talented people gets a bit too high. Some people as of recently are making much more than their talent entails. I fell that there should be a cap on some salaries such as the salaries of pro-athletes; just within their contract not any other endorsement deals. A lot of the players in recent times have not been playing the sport for the right reasons. many of them have been in it for the lifestyle not the love of the sport.So though I do think that a gap in salaries in justified, There should be limits.

  8. 3. I think that putting a salary cap on all salaries, regardless of the industry is bad choice. Sure, this could be argued wither way, however I personally think that it is a bad decision. First of all, the work people do to earn high salaries is sometimes not hard work, but sometimes it is extremely strenuous work, therefore they deserve a hefty paycheck. The individual positions within a company should never have a salary cap, even if CEO's get the cap. I do think that CEO earnings have gone a little crazy, but that’s the world we live in. Limiting the earning that someone can make is disrupting the free market economy that America based its existence on. That is the reason that people come over here, they can make as much money as they want. So, in conclusion, I think that a price cap is a no-go decision, and I think it would greatly disrupt the morals that we as Americans believe in.

  9. Lou DiVizio
    3rd Hour

    In regards to the second point made in the blog, I do not think that the government should regulate the salaries of CEO’s. The government has no authority to regulate theses salaries. I do not agree with the massive amounts of money being paid to CEO’s, but the government has no place in regulating it. The difference between the salaries between management and laborers is far too great. Workers spend so much time and effort working and get compensated so little. This does make some sense though, because there are many workers and few members of management, and in order to keep these people in management they must make more than the workers. The difference in the pay is far too great, but the only thing that can be allowed to regulate this is tasteful discretion.

  10. 2. I believe that this limitation on CEOs’ salaries in general is not a good idea and is not necessary. Even though there are those few leaders that make more money than they deserve, most CEOs are where they are for a reason. This means that should not be held back in their attempts to create wealth and successful businesses. For some greedy executives, this might mean that they would not even want to be a CEO if it doesn’t pay enough money. Even if, which is true in many cases, the leadership position is inherited, that person still has to work very hard from that point on to be successful. If there are CEOs slacking but making too much money, they could be replaced by the government on an individual basis with someone who can do the job. But this shouldn’t stop the successful CEOs from running an effective business and making more than the limited salary.
    Some people may say that the higher salary takes away from the payroll of other workers that actually accomplish more. But in most cases, the CEO also gets more money to the people working for him, and he deserves a larger payroll because he is responsible for everything. People often think that actors and professional athletes are overpaid, too, but the value of entertaining people around the world makes their job very important because they generate a lot of money. Similarly, there should not be a limit on the income of the CEOs, because if they are willing to work hard and make their company very profitable, then they deserve as much money as they can help to generate.

    Carter Freeman
    4th Hour

  11. I don't agree with how athletes and entertainers are paid and I think that they shouldn’t be paid as much as they are receiving. Sure it’s a talent and it isn’t something that you can just pick and study and become something like a doctor or a lawyer. Because it’s harder to find athletes and entertainers than doctors and lawyers yes they should get paid more, but not the millions that they are making. I think that it has been blown out of proportion and it isn’t equal or fair at all. In today’s economy we need more people that will help us get out of the depression that we are in right now and pay them instead of paying these athletes and entertainers who aren’t helping the economy. I also think that these athletes and entertainers are paid so much is because we are starving for them. We love watching them and the world loves sports, movies and television. We are more interested in that because we benefit from watching these things because they make us feel good about ourselves, or we feel a connection to these entertainers. We love these people so much because we know that we can’t do what they are doing. I personally think that the NBA has gotten out of hand and these athletes are being paid way too much for what they are doing. Like we talked about in class today, many players are playing for the money and the fame, not for the love of the game. An athlete may be good at something and they may love a certain job, but they could be amazing at a sport and know that they will make more money and have fame playing the sport. So they will simply choose to play the sport for money and fame rather than the job that they love. People are very greedy when it comes to money, so many will do whatever it takes to get as much money as they can.
    Nicole S.
    3rd hour

  12. Ben Despard

    As far as I know, the United States is still a Capitalistic, Democratic society. As such, business’s should be responsible enough to not NEED to be bailed out. A government enforced salary cap on CEO’s would be unconstitutional. The amount anyone person makes should be determined by their employers. The Employers need to be very aware of what their employees are doing and the quality with which they do their jobs. If a CEO is doing well, they should be rewarded, if not, they should be sanctioned. The world only properly functions when people are being reasonable and responsible. Obviously big companies have lost sight of this basic, fundamental principle in their haste to make a buck and get rich. From the, limited, personal experience that I have had with businesses, I find that the farther away an employer is from his employees and customers, the worse they are at managing. When I look at the difference between a small business, for example, a private store owner at the renaissance festival vs. the corporation of Einstein Bagels, which I work at, the customer is number one to the little guy. This whole concept of people in charge needing to be responsible and have common sense, is like that of a parent with a teenager. If the teen is good, and is responsible, then they are allowed more freedoms. If the teen is irresponsible, they will have an earlier curfew, etc.

  13. I do not think that it would be a good idea to put a cap on salaries. You would never be able to gage how much people should get. Plus living cost does differ depending on where you live as the article points out. Which industries make the most and how much the work that a person does is worth. I would also be worried about it causing brain drain. Because of the limit on salary people would move away to a place that would allow them to make more. This would only cause more economic problems because there would be no innovation. We need to keep the brightest minds in this country in order to get the economy out of the trend downward it is headed in. A better idea would be to try to limit the amount of personal wealth that a person can compile. For example after 10 billion dollar or some other large amount 50% of all additions to that amount would go to taxes. This would help stop the creation of a few people at the top having all of the wealth. But it would also stop Brain Drain because would have nothing to do the amount of money they make per year. Plus normal people do no get such a large amount of money in one lifetime. But I do agree that the CEOs whose companies do receive bailout money should be limited in the salary. Even if it is purely as a good will gesture because the rest of America is in so much hurt and trouble.

  14. I believe, as Dan also stated that Marx’s view is outdated. I believe that Marx’s economic theory was well suited for the thinking of workers in the late 1800’s such as during the Gilded Age when the Robber Barons exploited their workers by draining every ounce of work possible. During that period of time, the Robber Barons would short shift the workers out of pay so as to increase profits and increase their own incomes b investing more into their companies. Nowadays, management is much more important than it was then because most businesses operate on a national, if not global scale. The amount of work/planning that it now takes to run such a company is enormous and it’s because of good management at the top that the company is able to hire workers, but I believe that there is a point to which the CEO and earn their pay. If the CEO gets an outlandish pay of like 22 mil, yeah, that’s way too much! But if it’s around 5% of what the company makes if the company is very popular, then it’s ok.

  15. I think that in theory it could be an extremely positive change for our economy as a whole, however, the actual implementation of the limits would be nearly impossible to accomplish. The first thing that came to mind that seemed to be problematic was the movie industry. If the limits would be placed according to different industries, for movie stars they would have to decide if the limit would be yearly or per movie. To keep track of a yearly salary would be impossible and too complicated when dealing with an entire movie crew. A benefit would be that we would avoid having a few extremely wealthy people, and hopefully contribute to the growth of a stronger and larger middle class. Another thing that we discussed in the group was the risk of placing an overall cap on industries. The suggestion was to have a personal wealth cap. This would solve assist in solving the problem of having outrageous and unfair salaries, but would eliminate the risk of Americans leaving the U.S. to get more money in other countries. It would work so that after a salary passes the cap, the money will be taxed at an increased rate. I think this would be a plausible solution, but also be very detailed. Unfortunately I think we will end up looking back at the saying that “life’s not fair” and just have to remain upset of the unfair payment. I get upset by it all the time, I just don’t think that placing a cap on salaries would be well received by the upper class and if the people spending money are unhappy, the economy could suffer.

    Jordan Holmes
    4th Hour

  16. I really don’t know whether or not it would make sense to limit the amount of money people can make. Part of me says yes there should be some sort of cap because once you reach a certain point there is only so many things you can actually do with the money. There are only so many things that a person can acquire over the years so I feel like a lot of money ends up sitting around when it could be used for something of much greater importance. On the other hand, however, up until we went into war our economy was stable. There was no limit on salaries and everything ran fairly smoothly. So maybe if we can just get out of this huge debt were in somehow then things can go back to normal and there will be no need for a cap. But who knows if or when this will actually happen? Maybe now that we have a new president it could be soon, but maybe the problem is too big for him to accomplish in his term as president. These are questions that no one can answer and therefore make it difficult to say whether or not a cap on an individual salaries would be beneficial to the country. I also think that if we were to put a limit on salary it would be nearly impossible to decide what industries get what limits and all of the potential issues that could come with creating a law like that. Ultimately it could end up causing even more problems than there currently are.

    -Elizabeth O'Donnell 4th

  17. I think it is justifiable to have big salary gaps between entertainers and other professions. If you were to pay everyone the exact same wage, then a lot of people wouldn’t put as much work in to their job. Also, if you paid firefighters and policemen more money for their job, it would have to come out of our taxes. If that changed to being run by a corporation, then you would have to pay a huge sum of money to get help and would be hesitant to do so in a bad situation.
    I also don’t think you can link all entertainers in to one group. Actors and athletes are two completely different topics when discussing what they should get paid. Actors do work for their money and expose themselves to the media for their job. However, athletes have a much harder time making it to the big show than most actors or actresses. For example, in baseball it is extremely difficult to make it the majors and stay there. It takes a lot of time and work and of course some natural ability. Also American baseball players are competing with a lot of other players of different nationalities. Most Latino players live and breathe baseball from birth. They work extremely hard to even have a scout look at them and that’s their focus in life until they reach a point where it’s just not possible.
    I don’t think that athletes salaries should have limitations because they do work extremely hard for their money (well, not counting the Lions). I do however think they should be put on year long contracts. If contracts were only a year long athletes wouldn’t be making such obscene amounts of money and they would give it their 100% for each season.
    I’m not saying that policemen and firefighters don’t work hard for their smaller paychecks. I just can’t figure out a solution that would pay them much higher wages and not hurt the economy immensely.

    Samantha Paul
    4th Philosophy

  18. Although the logic and ideology behind the profit=exploitation theory isn’t wrong, I do not believe it applies in all instances of capitalism. In sweatshops, of course workers are being exploited in order to fill the pockets of the executives and boost profits for the businesses. However, the term “profit” also applies to workers who are self-employed, like doctors, babysitters, party planners, etc. People who sell time and effort in order to get paid earn a “profit”, but not at any expense or exploitation of others. Both the receiver of the service and the worker has a mutual understanding of the cost of the time period. I firmly believe my parents earn their salary (or, profit) without exploitation of their patients, themselves, or others. The problem arises when a company with greedy executives who earn a disproportionate amount of money cut the workers wages in order to increase their own. The company needs a profit to buy more supplies; thus, the innate concept of a profit is neither flawed nor corrupt, because it is necessary to further the capitalist cycle. But the exploitation is begun when executives write their own checks for exponentially more than the workers. If the executives did not claim such a large share of the profit, it would not exploit the workers. Some companies pay their workers a fair amount, however, I still believe the workers are being exploited when their salaries are compared to the executives.

    Laura Dietrich 4th, (Q 1)

  19. Yes I think that they are entitled to the salary they receive because they have worked hard for their jobs and have put in the time and effort necessary compared to someone who didn’t. Why should someone who worked really hard for their education and job get the same pay as someone else? The person who got the job is more talented in area because of their education and hard work which means that deserve to be paid more. An example would be that a Doctor deserves more money than a nurse because they went to college and got more of an education than they did which means that their more talented and more knowledgeable than nurse which in titles them to more money. People cant complain and say that Doctors had the money to spend to go college rather than someone else who didn’t have the money because there are other ways around it such as scholar ships, taking out student loans, and working an extra job to help pay it. It is totally not fair for someone who worked harder and is more talented than someone to get the same pay. When you get an education and work harder then you are more talented in the area. Another example would be that a Pro Baseball player deserves a more pay than the stadium cleaner because anyone can be the stadium cleaner but not everyone can be a pro baseball player. I believe people are entitled to receive a higher salary than someone else according to their job and education.

    Tyler Howe 3rd

  20. I will answer question number one. I think that profit never equals exploitation. From Marx’s point of view in order to have zero exploitation there would have to be no profit. No profit would mean every penny earned by the company would be paid back to the workers. In our capitalist society this would never work. There is too much competition among companies to survive. I will use an example. Say there is a company that produces shoes. They have one factory that follows Marx’s philosophy of profit equals exploitation. There are two groups of people in the company: the executives and the factory workers. Any surplus gained by the company from selling shoes is distributed evenly among every employee, including the executives. With no increase in wealth, the company cannot increase in size. The company is not expanding, but everyone is happy because they receive a high salary, everyone except the executives. They see the massive salaries of other executives and want the same. Here they have two choices: expand their company or go to a new one. They could expand their company to sell more shoes, but at the same time they would have to hire more workers. There would be a greater surplus, but it would be shared among a higher number of employees. Seeing this, the executives quickly choose to move to another company. Now there is no one left to run the shoe company. The workers can only make shoes, not sell them. With no leadership the company sells no shoes and eventually fails. Who is exploited in this situation? It is the workers who are now unemployed as a result of Marx’s philosophy, while the executives jump ship and make even more money. Workers need to understand that the only way for them to keep their job is for the company to make profit. They are not being exploited; they are being taken care of.

    Stefan Rush
    4th Hour

  21. I find some of the salaries that are paid purely outrageous. What I have found is that those who I feel deserve to have the private jet yacht and 3 Ferraris never seem to want them. It’s the research professors who are pushing the envelope on genetic engineering; it’s the doctors and scientists who have found the first great hope in the cure to aids ( ). There are great men who deserve exuberant amounts of money, they passionately serve the greater good weather it’s within there own community or on a global scale. But to me these are the only people who really deserve the engorged salaries. I'm just really tired of seeing people who have been handed an already successful company inherited from there father or grandfather which they just pay someone to run and reap the rewards. These are the people my anger is directed at those who don’t passionately do anything, who just take up space and waste oxygen. There should be some reward in our society for doing something passionately that helps the greater good, and I just don’t see anything like that. I guess I just hate people who are a box of rocks.

    nick e

  22. Making the assumption that we are discussing a free market economy, there is absolutely no justifiable reason why profits would equal exploitation. The key quantifier is that we are evaluating a purely free market society, which is controlled by Adam Smith’s invisible hand, the laws of supply and demand, and rationality. They key as to why this economic system is not exploitive is because one of the founding principles in a free market society is the absence of coercive force. Under a purely free market, no government, organization or cooperation can force you to work in a certain job at a certain wage or force you to purchase a certain product. Under the free markets everyone’s life is filled with choices, and they have the right to accept or decline all offers made to them. This means that people must weight the cost-benefits of all of their decisions. Do they take a low wage, hard labor job because that is all they are qualified to do? Or do you take the risk (because risk is inherent in this capitalist society) to improve one’s self and increase your education. It you for you, and you alone, to decide. Corporations may attempt to influence you through advertising, but it is your decision what you listen to, what you reject, and what you further research.
    Not only does profit not lead to exploitation, we can see empirically it has lead away from it. When a government increases the freedom of the markets, it also is forced to increase the freedom of the press, for it is impossible to run a business without knowing the news, which is key to consumer demand. This means that as nations, such as China, embark on a policy to increase their Gross Domestic Product, or their own economic freedom, we see both a trickle down of profits and of freedoms.

  23. 4. Do you think the gap / disparity between salaries (for example, between entertainers or sports figures and doctors, lawyers, etc.) is justifiable, especially in today's economy

    As a class today we had a great discussion on question four. So I wanted to pick it for my blog so I can continue to ramble about this problem.
    “Sports” world and “Business” world are to completely different worlds, hell even time zones. The problem that we have today is athletes are making 10 million 15 million, or maybe just a million. As a group we broke this situation into two reasons, one “Talent” and two “being trained”. For example, if you want to be a fire fighter you can go and do that, get your training blah blah. On the other hand if you want to become a MLB player the road to that is a lot harder, and longer. That’s why I think these ball players get paid ridiculous amounts of money. Is it right? In some cases, yes and some…. Not so much. When the league is paying these players all of this money the players loose the desire of the game. We all know the MLB slogan?!?! “I LOVE THIS GAME”. That is worn on millions of t shirts; it’s stitched in clothes, its everywhere in the baseball world. The sports world is going into a new era. Guys or girls are no longer in the sport for the love of it; instead the athletes are in for the big paychecks and the life style of a professional athlete. I know a based this on baseball but this can go for any professional sport out there. Football, Basketball, Hockey, Golf, Tennis, ect. .. .. I don’t see anything changing for the sports world. And as for the business world.. Well lets watch the stock market and find out.

    Rocky Shattuck
    3rd hour
    Honors Philosophy

  24. 1: "Profit = exploitation"

    Not in the least. Those two are hardly comparable, given that you have two or more individuals/companies/whatever that are willfully engaging in the process of a market transaction. If those requirements are met (and they usually are, like in everyday society, someone may gripe about prices, but they still choose to buy items of high price. There are other ways to avoid spending a lot on things like groceries) then the transaction was a mutual profit, no matter how small or large. Those individuals don't HAVE to engage in such an action, and if they are forced, then yes, Marx's idea of exploitation stands firm. The only other "willful" transaction that might be an exception is if there's a monopoly that deals with a wide range of items in which their items have become of such a good quality for the price they're offered, but even still, that's a very tough boundary, because that company most likely used their high-quality items and low prices to get ahead. They stay ahead because of excellence of service.

    So, no. Marx is just butthurt over something.

    -Ramius Maniere-Spencer, 3rd hour

  25. Daniel Zamler
    Blog #17
    Q: Marx believed that profit = exploitation, b/c the people who took the profit didn't necessarily earn it. The workers never get a share of the profit (or rarely do like the Big 3's profit sharing checks), so Marx believed that the owners didn't deserve those profits.
    - Do you agree with Marx? Why or why not?
    A: I completely disagree with Marxs’ point of view for the common era. Nowadays the people who get paid the most actually do work. They arrange meetings, plan marketing strategies, advertising strategies, hire and fire people, amongst a plethora of other activities. Just because the people do not perform the “grudge” work does not mean that what they do is not important. In fact if those people did not do their jobs none of the people who did the “grudge” work would have jobs. Also with the introduction of contracts for jobs and stronger unions employees welfare is all but insured. During Marxs’ times things were not this way, people worked 8 hour shifts for 5 pennys and thus , for his own time period, I believe that his remarks are justified but for our time period I believe they are outdated. It is important to note that I am only speaking about America of course, there are many countries worldwide that do not have comprehensive or adequate protection for their workforce, China namely. By world standards the U.S. is very good but there still is room for improvement, I do not believe that the discomfort is enough to spark a revolution though.

  26. TJ Hyland
    I believe that the limitations put on CEO’s income are fair. According to the article, CEO’s of big corporations make five hundred and thirty one times the amount of the average worker. I believe that the people in charge of a large business should make more than the common worker for that corporation. Obviously, it takes a leader to run a large corporation. And, in some cases, the CEO got to where he or she is from hard work. But what about those people who inherit a large company? How is it fair for them to make five hundred thirty one times more money than the average worker, a man who works hard to feed himself or his family? Well, in my opinion it is not fair. Five hundred thousand dollars for a salary is a lot of money. One could have a luxurious lifestyle off of that much money. I think that putting limitations on CEO’s salary is a good idea. However, I think that the government should examine the businesses they put limitations on. If a corporation does a lot to benefit society, the government should put the limitation to maybe one million dollars, or maybe more. But, if a large corporation does not do anything for our society, or if it hurts our cities, or economy, then limitations should definitely be put on CEO’s income. I believe that it is important to go to college, and get a good, steady job. But there should not be a plethora of CEO’s, who did not do anything to get where they are, making more than a million dollars per year.

  27. Response to Question 4
    I don’t agree with the difference in salaries, but there isn’t anything we can do to try and close the gap. The reason why athletes and movie stars get paid so much more than factory workers, teachers, etc., is because there are many people who are willing to pay to go to the sporting events and the movie theaters. The athletes and movie stars get paid every time someone goes to their game or sees their movie. Factory workers and teachers don’t get paid as much because there isn’t a crowd of people that want to watch a teacher teach a class, or factory workers work long shifts. Also, another reason why athletes and movie stars get paid a lot is because there aren’t very many athletes and movies stars. The NBA only allows 500 men to compete. There are thousands of factory workers and teachers in America and they all can’t get paid as much. So, the large gap between salaries is justifiable in today’s society, mostly because there isn’t any way to pay every single person the exact amount that they want. There is always going to be a career that pays more than other careers so having a world where everyone gets paid the exact same amount isn’t going to be any time soon.
    Loren B. 4th hour

  28. In my opinion there should be a gap between salaries in today’s economy but not as large as it is. There are many people who work hard for the money they earn and because of that they should not have it taken away just because someone does not think it is fair. Lets take doctors and nurses for instance, a doctor goes to school for many years and spends thousands to get a good education and become a successful doctor while nurses only go to school for a few years which does not cost as much money. Both work hard at their jobs and work long hours but they should not be paid the same amount because one worked much harder to get to where they are today. Now I believe sport figures make way too much money. A sports figure should make a good amount of money because of pure talent but there should be a limit on how much one can make, not including other signings they do. I am not sure why some people can just pick up a ball and are able to play pro but others who work hard their entire life and never get a break. Now I am not trying to say that people who have talent shouldn’t be rewarded for it but America needs to see how hard some of their citizens work and how little they are getting paid. In conclusion, there should be a gap in the amount of money someone makes but there should be a limit on how much more one can make over an other when they are in the same field of work.

    Anna Beaufore
    3rd hour

  29. 1. I do not agree with Marx. Owner made the company, came up with the idea, and created the jobs for the worker. So really why should he get the profit? It’s all the owners, whether he puts in the physical work or not they for sure put in the mental work. If the people who created jobs and companies didn’t get the profit there would be no incentive to work or earn money. The country would stop growing people would stop creating and developing.
    2. Limiting CEOs’ salaries depends on what CEO you are limiting. If they need a bailout for the government that clearly means their company isn’t doing so hot, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t working hard. They might be the hardest worker at the company or they might be the laziest, we don’t really know. If their company is failing because of poor choices by them and they are responsible for it then they should have their salary limited, but otherwise no.
    3. I personally don’t agree with this. Just because some people are overpaid in certain industries doesn’t mean everyone’s salary should suffer. There are people in the country who work very hard for the money they have, some are extremely wealthy and work hard for their wealth and some are poor who work are for the little they have. You can’t really judge the whole country just because some CEOs are much overpaid, because there are even some CEOs who are not and actually should be paid more for the work they do.
    4. I do believe that people like doctors, police, and firefighter do deserve to be paid much more for the contribution they make to the world but something we all learn early on is that life isn’t fair and just because we deserve something doesn’t mean we’ll get it. There just simply isn’t enough money in the government to pay those people a million dollars a year. And the only reason must actors and professional athletes get paid so much is because of us. The public demands them so it’s as simple as supply and demand. There aren’t a lot of famous people in the world so when they make a movie or have a big game people will pay a lot of money to go see them, if people have a problem with their salaries then they should stop going to their movies or games.
    Erin Bay 4th hour

  30. In general, it is neither right nor a good idea to put a maximum limit on salaries. First, such a limit would likely be useless, as it would be extremely difficult to enforce. Second, the highest wage earners pay a disproportionate level of taxes; thus, they pay a very high percentage of overall taxes. Restricting their wages would have the effect of reducing tax revenue significantly, so such action by the Federal Government would only come back around and do damage. Thirdly, for people currently earning more than the limit, it removes any incentive for them to perform at such a high level (one at which the market value of their work is greater than their legally allowed compensation). As a result, productivity and creativity will decline, hurting the economy.
    Besides the practical impacts of a salary limit, this action is not morally justified. Perhaps it is true that some executives and other employees earn more than they “should.” This would mean that their salaries are higher than the market value of their work. In this case, those paying, the shareholders, are getting a bad deal. It is their responsibility to fix this problem in their own self-interest, not the concern of the Federal Government. In most cases, though, workers of all levels are paid according to the market value of their productivity, whether the deal is determined by independent negotiations or collective bargaining, so the full extent of their wages is justified. To set a maximum salary would be to make a judgment on the highest possible worth of a human being’s labor, to decide what standard of living is too high to be acceptable. This is unethical for anyone, let alone the government to attempt to decide.

  31. 4. I think that the gap/ disparity between salaries between entertainers and sports figures and doctors and lawyers is justifiable. In today’s economy I can understand why it may be a harder subject to talk about and it may seem less justifiable though. Doctors get paid every time a client comes to see them just like a movie star gets paid every time someone goes to see their movie or a NBA player gets paid every time a bobble head of them gets sold. The less people that can do that job, the more they get paid. It is like a pyramid; at the top of the pyramid are the people who have jobs that less people can be like a famous althlete or actors. The comes the doctors, more people can become a doctor than a famous actor but it still takes a lot of hard work and that is why they are not so many of them and they are in the middle of the pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are the jobs that the most people can do, most of which don’t require any special school. Sense almost anyone can do these jobs and many people do, there is less pay to give out to them and it requires less specialized skill, not that those people do not work hard. I do understand the way this works and it makes sense even thought I wish everyone could make the amounts of money that famous people do.
    Kaelin Roberts

  32. I think that this is a bad idea because a lot of CEO’s can work wherever they want for any money sum they could think of. They could move over seas and find jobs to if the US kept limiting them. It takes a lot to be a CEO you have to have those amazing skills of management and how to run the company and just knowing the people. The biggest reason I don’t think that we should limit their salaries is that we don’t want them to leave. If they do leave we will have to find another person to do their job and he/she won’t do as well as one of them. Even though that is still a really good amount of money if a Ceo knows their good enough they can make more money than that somewhere outside of the country. That’s why I think that we should not limit there salaries and try and take money out of another area because the CEO will just leave we should just let the company that there working for chose how much money they should be able to make a year.
    Josh Williams
    3rd hour

  33. Alright...I wrote a three hundred word response to this and right before I was about to send it, my internet shut down. yeah fml. Bear with me.

    America is based on the foundation of oppertunity and freedom. Those who choose to pursue those ideals, reach the very bounds of success, and keep reaching for higher, more ambitious goals, are rewarded accordingly. Actors, athletes, etc. are, on the most part, not handed their careers. People like Meryl Streep, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods are incredible at what they do. They pursue their talents and set new precedents for new generations. How can America possibly punish the inspiration of the United States?

    Any person can admit that if they had the ability to achieve great wealth, they would. Putting a limit on the amount that can be earned is like telling someone they can only succeed to a certain amount.

    Also, limiting the amount that can be earned will not do the public any good. Companies invest in good promotion. Companies will not simply throw the extra money at the public. They'll just find a more profitable promotional representative.

    The only way we can benefit from limiting the multi-millionaire's salary is by taxing them an enormous amount. If we're willing to punish the successful, then why not let our government benefit from it? Maybe the money could be redistributed to the public, and we'll get a taste of someone else's wealth.

    The question remains, are we a country based on oppertunity and freedom? Or equality and common good? In this case, both are extremely important yet conflicting all at once. Are we willing to sacrifice the American dream for the American people?

    Chelsea R
    3rd hour

  34. In response to question 4, no I do not believe that the gap between salaries is justifiable. It just doesn't seem fair that people who put in time and effort into a job that helps other people make less than other people who don't. For example- if someone is studying to be a doctor or nurse, they are going to ultimately be helping people with their job. They are going to have to put in a lot of time before even getting the job for schooling. For professional sports athletes, they put in a lot of time to get better at the sport, but they are not helping anyone else with what they do for a living. Yeah, some athletes may donate money to charities... but not all of them do.

    They other day we were discussing how policemen and firemen put their lives in danger everyday for the protection of citizens and they don't get paid hardly anything. I brought up the fact that poilcemen and firemen have to be very selfless because if they did get big salaries, then people would be going into that profession for all the wrong reasons and would probably not care about protecting the citizens. So in this case, I think that poilcemen and firemen should be recognized more for all of their courage and amazing attributions.

    Ashley Connelly, 4th hour

  35. Kristin T
    4th hour

    Limiting salaries is not only a bad idea, but it is fundamentally un-American. The American dream, or the old American dream, in a nutshell, is to start from nothing and die with more money than anyone could possibly imagine, and hopefully somewhere between rags and riches you donate a very generous amount of time and more importantly money to charities and the less fortunate. If we limit that amount of money one can make we are putting a damper on the American dream and also peoples drive. I wish it were some other way but I honestly do not think that (most) people would work as hard as they do, especially those select few who are so determined and they end up being like multimillion dollar tycoon if the were to know for certain they could only make so much, or when parent's tell their children "the sky's the limit" for their future, they would be lying. Particularly for American today competing against not just fellow Americans but the rest of the globe, the last thing our economy needs is having all of the rich and powerful people of the earth located outside of red white and blue soil. I do however think that when making a more than reasonable wage, say more than ten million dollars a year, however much you make more than that should either be taxed by at least fifty percent or be given to the charity of your choice or used to create your own charity or non profit organization. Because I do think it is wrong if those people who are living the American dream aren’t sharing their happiness of their not so fortunate Americans. I also think that occupations deemed to be beneficial to the greater good of America: firemen, doctors, police officers, teachers ect should have to pay as high of a tax as they do and receive bonuses because while we think in our superficial little heads that its Nike and Verizon that rule the world, its your sons third grade science teacher and your neighborhood fireman that keep the people in our world going and growing.

  36. 4. I believe that the gap between salaries is not always justifiable. When actors and actresses are making millions of dollars I do not think that that makes sense. I think that the amount of schooling a person goes through should sometimes determine a person's salary. For example, doctors go through many years of schooling and yet they arent paid nearly as much as musicians. I also think that being a teacher is one of the most important jobs and they get paid very low. I think that everyone is born with a talent. Just because actors may have the natural talent to act that others dont, doesnt mean that they should be paid millions more than others. Teachers have the talent to explain things and help people learn, which is more important that the talent to sing but they arent getting the same amount of money. The only way I can try to justify this is by examining how rewarding your job is. I think that being able to save a life or teach about something important is more personally rewarding than playing a sport.

    Hilary B.


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