Thursday, 18 November 2010

Step out of the box

The Wayne Rooney contract negotiation is over. He has won an increase on what he was offered by using, with his agent's help, the threat of moving to another team next season. Reputedly, he will now be paid around £200,000 a week. Meanwhile, it is a time of recession, where jobs are scarce and companies are asking more from employees for the same money. Not surprisingly perhaps, Rooney received media abuse for his greed. Even criticism from the pundits on BBC's Match of the Day.

To be fair, though, he was doing what most of us would have done, wasn't he? He was seeking his own best interests, and also seeking status in his profession through his earnings. Isn't that just what most of us would have done?

He is paid a salary for doing what he does. Like most people he is paid both for his work and for the wealth such work creates for others.

The bankers are in the news again. Apparently they have made a profit this year - on the books, at any rate. But these people brought the country almost to ruin until the nation took over the debt they had created.

But wait, that was last season, and for many seasons before that, so it is not included in the assessment of success this year. Some investment bankers are going to receive a life-changing sum of money as a bonus - a reward for doing what they are already well paid to do. And not taking into account the losses they made in previous years!

In any case, I fail to see that by investing our money to create more wealth that these people are any more necessary to a successful economy than the rest of us who earn the money put at the banks' disposal. That they should receive such disproportionate rewards for doing their job - and not paying back anything is outrageous. Perhaps there should be a minus as well as a bonus. For making unsuccessful investments then a deduction of salary would encourage zeal perhaps more than a bonus does.

EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - (FILE)  Sir Fred G...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Although most of us might do what Wayne Rooney did, it seems clear to me that endless greed as the motivation for doing what we do to earn a living is not the way to inspire a company, a public service, or a life.

Someone has to step out of the box, Wayne Rooney or ex-Chairman Sir Fred Goodwin (Royal Bank of Scotland), and say something like:

'I owe my financial success to the rest of society which gave my skills their opportunity. You have rewarded me beyond reasonable expectation. Please take back my bonuses from the last x years and pay me in future like any skilled man."
And Rooney is still unable to play. Injured in mind and body? While Sir Fred, we hear, has retired injured and out of the limelight. Why would they feel injured do you think?

Maybe to stand up and say the words of regret and restitution offered above would help them feel better. Come on Wayne and Fred - step out of the box.
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