Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Class Warfare

Seen on Twitter: “The Chairman of Merck took home $17.9 million last year. This year Merck announces plans to boot 13,000 workers. Any questions?”

To which my question is “long division, can you do it?” Even were the chairman of Merck to take not a penny in compensation, the money saved by Merck would not pay for a tithe of those jobs. This is straight-up jealousy and rabble-rousing. (Each of the laid-off workers gets approximately $1400 from the Chairman forgoing his annual salary completely. A tithe (10%) gets $14,000 which is less than $10/hr in annual wages).

Sure, he makes more in a year than I’ve made in my life to date. I’m unlikely to see a tenth as much in annual income at any point in my life. Who cares? I don’t – the amount of money he makes has a vanishingly small impact on the amount of money I can make. Yes, in one sense that pie is finite – but it is so very large that it is effectively infinite. You have to express in scientific notation the fraction of the US economy that went to this guy’s bank account last year. And it’s not like it vanishes into a black hole when he’s paid it. Money moves on, from his back account to other bank accounts. It’s entirely likely that a fraction of my paycheck comes out of the money that Merck paid him last year due to him paying my employer. If he didn’t directly, the money he spent on other good and services went by various and diverse trails into my employers coffers and indirectly into mine, just as I put the vast majority of the money that comes into my coffers into someone else’s; gaining positive energy as it goes by.

If you’re that concerned about the workers of Merck, don’t order your drugs from foreign pharmacies – that’ll be more effective than whining about them what has money.

2 comments:

  1. If you’re that concerned about the workers of Merck, don’t order your drugs from foreign pharmacies – that’ll be more effective than whining about them what has money.

    And of course, as always, voting against big government is good policy. Both of my parents worked for Merck for their entire adult lives, both in administration and in production. It's shocking how much is wasted complying with ever-bloating FDA regulations, not to mention the loss to the greater economy and healthcare industry due to the near impossibility of starting up a new competitor with so many government-mandated extra costs.

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  2. A large chunk of my career has been spent in pharma IT. I wouldn't be all that shocked...

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