why is there no maximum wage – why this phrase?

cross-stitched fabric banner by Laura Bucci
cross-stitched fabric banner by Laura Bucci

why is there no maximum wage? This question was written on a banner held by a protester at an event. I wasn’t at the event but saw the image of the protester in Adbusters Magazine. I don’t know the context behind the event/image but I thought this was a good question to ask. It got me thinking. If people had to give up the possibility of earning more and more and more and more, how would they react? We’re talking earnings beyond the living wage. We’re talking about earning hundreds of thousands, and millions, and billions. I was especially thinking about CEOs and how money is used as an incentive to secure the best executives. Could people accept having a cap on their earnings? It’s not a simple scenario. The more you think about it, the more complicated it gets. There’s family-run businesses and public companies.

Income inequality creates class distinctions, discrimination, oppression, and diminished choices and hope. What else?

It’s easy to point out the negatives but are there solutions? It seems after all there are already some companies that limit the CEO-to-average worker pay ratio.

Lee Valley Tools, a Canadian company, ensures that the highest paid worker never makes 10 times more than the lowest paid worker. The company also distributes 25% of its profit to its staff each year. Is this surprising? This article by the Globe and Mail is a worthwhile read with more examples of how other companies are capping wages of top salary earners and how income inequality in Canada hurts people. But Lee Valley does seem to be an anomaly in this scenario.

So after doing some research, I learned that yes, maximum wage does exist–I did the research after I stitched the baner! There are some companies out there behaving decently but there’s still lots of work to be done.

Join me August 24 2014 for Stitching with Purpose in Vancouver, a free drop-in workshop. More info here

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