THE BALANCER: A short conversation about different perspectives on equity
THE BALANCER: A short conversation about different perspectives on equity4 mins 216 4 mins 216
"Why are you working so hard, Mr. Nol?"
"What do you mean? Should I not work hard?"
"No, I mean, you have a rich father. If it were me, in full honesty, I'd be happy doing the bare minimum. You're like the protagonist in a cliché movie about a spoilt, underestimated boy with a point to prove."
"I'm going to take that as a compliment."
"I hope you do, I'd very much like to keep my job."
"Why do you work hard, Ms. Sato?"
"I have a family to feed, I have bills to pay, and I have no one but myself to do it."
"And I have no one but myself to feed you, all of you. We both know my father isn't the fairest, nor is any other capitalist in this company. I work so that you have something to work for so that you can feed your family. I also work so that I can make money that I have indisputable rights over, I don't actually have any right over my dad's money, I can't do every single thing I want with it-"
"But you can, can't you?"
"No. I cannot help others. He won't let me. I cannot donate his money. I cannot use his money to build homes. I cannot use his money to feed you and your family. But if it's my money, he can't tell me how to spend it."
"In other words, you work hard because you actually care. Very admirable."
"No, very bare minimum. Very fair and very normal, for a worker like me, or any worker in general. I get that people who don't care about the world won't do a thing to help, but imagine if people who supposedly cared, also didn't do a thing about the world. Aren't we just, fucked, in that case? No, my bad, I wouldn't be fucked, but you and your family sure would be."
"If only we had more billionaires like you."
"If only we had fewer billionaires and more equitably-paid individuals."
"What a poetic egalitarian."
"I wish I could be."
"Ah, the rich boy blues- you must've had a dream besides working behind a desk 24/7 with a 360 view of London."
"The 360 view will always be a part of my dreams, I just wanted to see a different type of 360 view, somewhere in person, where it's my legs turning around instead of a swivel chair, not ever worrying about a laptop. What's funny is that a billion others would die for this swivel chair."
"I sure would-"
"You can have it. I hate it. The way it's so perfect, the fact that every spin is crisp and clean, that there's not a squeak of a sound reminding me that it has flaws. The seat cushion is cloud-like, the arm-rests are probably more comfortable than the beds of the working class, and I hate that."
"You only think about it this way because you've grown tired of everything around you being so tip-top all the time. The working class could only dream of getting used to something like that."
"And that is why a balance is the best. Fewer billionaires and more income-equivalent people. Just as imperfect as perfect. Just as outdoors as indoors, and just as comfortable as uncomfortable. Humans will never be grateful for anything, not even a balance, but the balance is the closest we can get to gratefulness. See-saws, as always, are great examples of this."
"Not really. The see-saw concept in terms of balance is overrated and worn-out in my opinion. You say balance is best, but balance is also the most boring. And we hate boring. When you're at the low end of a see-saw, the only way to go is up, and that excites us, we feel adrenaline, and when you're up, the view you see, the wind you feel on your face, and the spiraling rush in your belly felt as you accelerate down makes us feel happy and ambitious. At the middle of the see-saw, you have no movement- no excitement, no happiness. It's boring."
"I guess that's what you have to decide for yourself then. Would you rather experience butterflies in your stomach, at a risk, or would you rather stay bored but forever safe from hitting the ground?"
"Are you asking me?"
"If you want to answer, sure."
"Does my job depend on this answer?"
"Of course not, you have a family to feed."