Fair shares?

Sunday 27th May 2012

SELF-employed people like to tell everyone how hard they work. We wallow in the martyrdom of the 70-hour week, claiming never to take days off through illness, and expecting others’ sympathy – or seeking their admiration perhaps? – for being our own secretaries and book-keepers.

Nevertheless, we are advocates of that great maxim: a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Thankfully, common decency still underpins the ethos of most of the nation’s small businesses, sole traders, and freelance practitioners… though I am still struggling to find a local electrician prepared to come out and do two ten-minute jobs in my bathroom.

It’s been a week of early mornings and late finishes: five tough gigs, three demanding a lot of leg-work in hot temperatures; several long bus journeys; an average of three hours a day at the desk too.

I’m not complaining. The work has been hugely enjoyable and I’ll be paid £1,851.60 this month, gross, which is well above what I usually make.

Over the year, I ‘take home’ £7.23 an hour, which is fine by me. You can’t put a price on the freedoms and pleasures of working for oneself in a fascinating and fulfilling job. I will never be rich, but, in any case, would not want to be: too much responsibility and too much superficial satisfaction.

However, I do object to those who make loads of money doing nothing.

Much as I despise those who think the world owes them a living, I am not talking here about tax dodgers or benefit fraudsters. No, what I’m curious about is the business of buying and selling shares.

The stock market, it seems to me, is where rich people can acquire vast sums by sitting around drinking coffee… thus failing, miserably, any fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay test.

For what do these shareholders actually do, except make money by having money?

Meanwhile those who sweat to grow the coffee beans, transport the crop, or bring the cappuccino to the shareholders’ tables, are paid so poorly for their toil.

Fair shares? Huh. No such thing.







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2 Responses to Fair shares?

  1. It’s easy to make or just save money by having money in the first place – it is one of the things that has always galled me and worse I came across this ignorance of those with money, who have always had it – they do not understand. I have a friend who has come to realise these things but that is because she mixed with people from lower income families at Uni and came to realise that her asumptions were wrong. But I have come across people who seriously believe there is not such thing as ‘poor’ in this country anymore and who think people without insurance are stupid and that it must be hard for families with only one property for the children to inherit. The concept that some people do not inherit anything from anyone is so alien to them.

    People I know who played the stock market have seemed to be basically gambling – like going to the horses – oh they do lots of stats and stuff (sometimes) but the attitude was very much that of gambling which I was horrified at. Again I have seen two very different attitudes towards share holding as well – one is that you earn shares as part of the business you have worked for or as part of investing in the company – the other is about making max money with no concern for the way the businesses are run weather they are ethical etc… which is currently leading to some shocking behaviour.

  2. ann odyne says:

    No only the stock exchanges but most of the nitwits featured in the dailytale (which of course I read) and esp the ecclestone girls.
    just once, I wish I would read of them taking all their old clothes to a women’s shelter or similar.
    it behooves all stonkingly rich people to Do Good Works so that we may despise them less.
    The Wolf Of Wall Street is an autobiog which describes the vileness of share trading. recommended.

    Everybody these days wants too much, wanting to ‘live like royalty’ while despising actual royalty for living that way.

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