Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting Your Fair Share

As you are surely aware by now, especially if you are a watcher of Late Night TV, the Writer's Guild is on strike. As I am not in the Writer's Guild, I am glad to be able to inform you my blog is not affected by this as I am not a member. They are on strike because they want a share of the profits from DVD and Internet sales.

It is true that media is changing and I can understand their viewpoint. At first I was sympathetic. But, it occurred to me that just because you do a job doesn't give you a right to the profits from your work after that. That's why you get a pay check. I'm in engineering, and I won't get a cut of the profits from the product I'm working on. You don't see me on a picket line complaining. You should ask yourself if you are getting the benefits of your work long after you do it.

There are many other jobs were this is the same case. Take it when a doctor saves your life. Does he get a cut of your pay that results from you're continuing to get to work? In some cultures (don't ask me which ones) when you save someone's life they owe you a life debt. (like with Chewbacca and Han Solo) Perhaps doctors should get some of that debt that you owe them in the form of garnished wages. Its only fair.

What's our greatest asset? People. Specifically our children. Who makes them besides of course their parents, teachers. If teachers are making our greatest products, better than DVDs and iTune downloads, should they not get rewarded for their long lasting work as well? So writers, you've brought me around to your side, but only after you give that English teacher who encouraged you to write in the first place (or mocked you and made you write just to spite him) part of your salary, until you die.

Think about it. This could really revolutionize teacher compensation. If teachers get their fair share of the income of their students, they would be really motivated to care about their students for the long run and would go the extra mile to help them, tutoring them, mentoring, etc. Rewards based on grades and test scores don't mean much, bad teachers can either grade easy or give students answers during tests. But when corporate America is judging student success, its out of teachers' hands and they can't be wrong. It wouldn't matter if a student is from a rich, middle-class, or poor family, teachers would expect them to become productive members of society. (But God forbid not teachers; that wouldn't get them much later down the road.) And think of the potential for teacher's pay to increase. If you taught the next Bill Gates, you would get quite a bonus. This could turn teaching around and attract the best, most qualified people. Schools would not be satisfied with mediocrity. Of course this would be grandfathered in. Its about time we invested in our children.

Why stop there? Why not literally invest in our children. If we incorporate a child, we can then sell stock in that child to fund their education, in exchange for dividends, aka a cut of their income. So, I'm going to incorporate myself. If I can't sell stock in myself then I'm not free, and we live in America. (This has the added benefit of my qualifying for corporate tax rates, making my expenses business expenses and thus tax deductible, and limiting my liability. I didn't run over that person, ME Incorporated did, and they happen to not have any money, having paid it to their CEO, me.) $100 buys you one share in me, which will be .01% of my future income, so $1,000,000 total. (Don't tell my prospective investors but when I sell all my shares I'll invest it in the stock market, quit working and live off the growth since I won't get any of my income anyways. But shh. Although I should probably stay the majority stock-holder, lest I lose control over myself.) The stock price of good students would of course naturally be higher. This would encourage investors to look for undervalued students, those under-performing but with great promise, and help them do well. The lower the stock price of a student, the greater the potential gain. It's a win-win situation. Of course make sure you diversify. Emerging markets are doing great, so I'm thinking the most money to be had is in third-world children.

Writers, I hope you're happy about advocating selling stock in children. If you're not I'd say feel free to post otherwise but you'll be crossing the picket line. Silence will be taken as tacit agreement.


Blogger Benjamin said...

Hey Greg,

Good thoughts. I was glad to see that you know about Chewbacca's life debt! Only a truly geeky fan knows that sort of information, and I am the geekiest of them all.

p.s. I think I should be reimbursed for my contribution to Amazon's bottom line.

Tue Nov 20, 11:54:00 PM EST  

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