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Some skewed ratios!

January 6, 2012

One day I was sitting and thinking –

“A young engineer turned banker who does some financial work gets paid nearly 1 Lac per month. A maid servant who cleans utensils, mops the floors and washes clothes in 5 houses a day gets paid less than 4000 pm.

I have tried my hands at both. I worked for a bank for a year and then also did a lot of cleaning and washing for another one year. Working with hands was such a fulfillment and so much more difficult. The work unlike that in bank involved both mind and body. It took me quite some time to master the skill of washing the utensils clean (with and without soap and/or ash), almost the same time I took to learn the nuances of valuation. I still have not learnt how to wash the clothes well with minimal usage of water.And still after a year of doing both for myself and others, I cannot imagine doing it for 5 households in a day.

And yet the lady who does it day in and day out gets paid 25 times less than the banker! And a construction worker who works all day – with his wife helping him – with his little daughter playing in the mud which would be in due time used for construction gets even lesser! A farmer who understands much more about plants, his land, water than any of us and who gives his sweat to mother earth does not even get that!” 

When suddenly a divine voice interrupted the train of thoughts and spoke directly to me –

“Offo! who is making all this hullaboo about skewed ratios? Is this the time?

You need not get all emotional about the farmers, maids, workers etc. Please tell them how difficult it is to sit in an AC office and make presentations all day. Do they even know what is it takes to be a consultant? Do they know that you need to walk, talk, eat and sleep only in English to do all that! In English and not in their local crap. And you need to know how to work on Microsoft Power point, how to use clip board, insert animations and how to wear tie! Baat karte hain! Don’t they understand that the ‘Economics’ (God’s gift to mankind alone) would love to have things like this only. The ratios need to be more skewed for better GDP growth rate and development. And don’t they see news? Everyone knows that India is in 2nd position in the race. Is this the time to discuss such nonsense?

Ambani ne wahan Mumbai mein Atilla bana liya aur tum yahan “25 times” par atke hue ho? Please concentrate. You need to diligently devise more strategies to fool the innocent and the not so cunning. Only then can you continue to fill your bags with more, more and much more. And please for God’s sake, don’t meddle with economics. It has a lot of math in it that even the mathematicians do not understand. Just have faith in it”

11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2012 09:06

    It is indeed a serious issue.. the communism ideology aims at the same.. equal distribution of money..
    A few days back, the editor of Eternal Bhoomi and founder of Prakriya School was sharing her thoughts on the same. That she wants to have a system of equal pay across all working members, but a lot of repercussions are involved. A teacher may not like getting the same pay as the maids, and if maids’ income is raised, then the maids have problem in their family with their husbands. So it’s a dilemma..I wonder how this can be worked out in an organisation, small or big.


    • January 7, 2012 09:31

      Yes and let us not even talk about equal pay for it seems to be too idealistic. But the difference is just too absurd and vulgar.
      Actually we here at CFL are also thinking on similar lines. We have around 5-6 people working and so I feel it would not be very difficult to bring the financial return to some common level. I am sure we will face a lot of problems too. Will try and find a way out.


  2. January 8, 2012 10:17

    My only suggestion from personal experience… do not start comparing; it weakens your position and stance;
    the pitfalls of high-paying corporate jobs are unseen and its a whole separate discussion in itself
    walk the path of the immovable heart


    • January 8, 2012 10:49

      I did not quite well understand. The difference between salaries is both quite evident and at the same time inexplicable. Please elaborate on what stance should one take or not take.

      Also do read the comment I made before yours. This is a small way in which I think one can do something to bridge the gap.


      • January 16, 2012 13:42

        My point is that the gap of wages and fares between the rich and poor cannot be controlled… the question of fair or unfair too hits a roadblock while debating

        I am not trying to discourage but by comparing and feeling sympathy for the poor only weakens our spirit; Only finding a solution and implementing it makes sense… feeling outraged doesn’t


        • January 16, 2012 15:22

          I so agree with the last statement you have made here – “Only finding a solution and implementing it makes sense… feeling outraged doesn’t”. But sometimes “feeling outraged” and “being hopeful” about it can be the first few steps to finding a solution. I do not know if in general the problem can be solved, but I do feel that at smaller level the absurdity can be dealt with. There are places where one can see it working.


  3. koikahin permalink
    January 8, 2012 12:00

    I agree that the divide is too high. And I believe that I am paid way too much for sitting in AC pressing buttons all day – and to what result? Just creating 0 – 1 patterns that is not even going to be permanent. Seems ridiculous.

    But then again, i believe the picture that is painted here is just way too simplified… if you think about it, any person will do strenuous work for, let’s say, 14 hours a day. And any person’s daily job (except perhaps a few gifted individuals among, lets say, scientists), isn’t that profoundly challenging that another individual can’t learn and do. So you can draw this parallelism between any two professions, and all professions are equally difficult and equally easy.

    But think of it this way. I quit my job. I have some reserves of money, and I have taken some from others. I want to start my business. I’ll be investing a year trying out what I want to try out. In this process, I get a new place to work, get a few of my friends to invest some time, and in return I share a part of my company with them. Then I hire a few employees. Strategize on how much of resources to get, should I buy them vs. should i get them on lease or rent? What should be my clientele, what markets should i target, how should i advertise? how should i proceed with the limited resources i have, spend a little and wait for some return or go full fledged in one go? once my company reaches a reasonable size should i sell it off, or should i wait for it to become bigger?

    What part of my decision can an ordinary person not do? The maid, the farmer? These are all simple decisions that anyone can make. And irrespective of whether I am capable enough of making the right decisions or not, shouldn’t the fact that I am taking these risks account for something? If I don’t do well, I would have wasted a year with no pay, but if were to work well, in two years I would have earned as much as i would have earned in 10 years.

    What I am trying to say is, that in the picture painted above, there is atleast one thing missing in consideration that governs how much you get paid – how much risk are you willing to take and how smart you are in making your choices.

    Wrt the person feeling fulfilled with his job, I think any job which involves ‘creation’ is fulfilling, whether or not that is something one can touch, or only something abstract. And maybe the other part of fulfillment comes from the fact that he is actually putting his body to do what it is designed to do (physical work!). (have to run now, can’t elaborate on the last part now)


    • January 16, 2012 16:09

      Agree with all you have said here… Even in the case you have presented here (of risk and return), I do not think the ratios would generally be so skewed. If there are 100 different entrepreneurs who spend 3 years before building a successful business, there would be many different levels of remunerations each would take for the effort they put in – which if driven by “greed” will lead to exploitation and if driven more by “return for effort” or “generated need” will lead to more equanimity.


  4. January 8, 2012 17:28

    currency of delusion


  5. January 27, 2012 03:00

    It’s a difficult problem because of the complex framework we have built to run our society. We don’t need most of the jobs that we do. Investment banking need not be so big. Centuries ago, civilizations were simpler and were running well with intuitive understanding of nature that we have not been able to develop with all our logical research.

    We have come too far in our run to accumulate more and more. Accumulation is necessary only for survival. But we started accumulating for luxury, which keeps growing and growing. I am also part of this, but I am beginning to understand that this is wrong. All vocations can’t be treated equally but the divide has increased so much because of our madness to acquire more and more. If our job activities are synchronized with the idea of global good, even a bai who is paid less money will have enough to enable her kids to pursue their interests. Instead of billions accumulating in a single bank account, schools around the world will become become better facilities of learning.

    We should think of concrete solution to solve this. The first step is to educate those who have (billionaires) or are involved in accumulating (us!) the most and help them channel investments into financial instruments that will enhance standards of living of the unprivileged. The challenge is to convince them that compassion and satisfaction of helping fellow brothers and sisters are better returns than financial ones. At the same time, we have to intelligently devise instruments that will give satisfactory financial returns for investing in global good, to attract more investors.

    Microfinance, charity and fortune at the bottom of pyramid are supposed to be steps toward that direction. We need to own this cause and add to it.


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