Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wait until we really know what you deserve?

Many workers' success are best determined with twenty-twenty hindsight. For example, is a surge in profit due to the CEO's acumen, or just an accounting gimmick? Did the doctor really do the back surgery so it would keep a person pain-free for the rest of their life? And did the teacher do a really good job or just "teach to the test" Did the politician pander for votes, or truly achieve the status of a statesman? Does the miracle drug have undisclosed long-term side effects?

I thought one idea would be to put their money away into an account and then twenty years later or as they retire, distribute it after a retrospective of their entire lives. Well someone else came up with this idea--in a specific field. He proposed that sports figures put ten percent of their salary into an account --which will be forfeited if they are ever caught with performance-enhancing drugs steroids in their system.

But lets extend this to the general case and to the particpatory democracy case: The participatory jury would evaluate the persons performance when they try to take the money out, and perhaps evaluate their need for the money urgently. If the particpatory jury feels the use for the money and the person's performance justifies, they get the money tax free. Otherwise, the money continues in a useful investment.

This would be in lieu of taxes on that money. It is a way of resolving the problem with investment banker's bonuses.

I would express this more clearly: if a person earns or has ever earned over one million dollars in a single year, they have two options:

  1. limit their spending to the median income (about $43,000 per year in the United States)
  2. submit to a participatory democracy sortition jury. They would determine how much they can spend based upon what we know of their entire life and its accomplishments, the risk that they may have caused harm that is not clear, and lastly their needs. (Thus a person facing an illness, a terminal condition, or simply advanced chronology might be given more leeway to spend than those who would still have many more years in which to enjoy a fling).

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