There exist ideas that are so powerful that, if implemented on a large scale, they will change the World. The concept of Fluid Shares, introduced by Jonar C. Nader in his 1999 book, “How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People”, is one such idea. It is a radical concept which advocates the equalisation of remuneration across an organisation and allows all employees to an equal share in it’s prosperity.
Large numbers of people throughout the Western World are dissatisfied with their jobs. The core of this dissatisfaction lies in employees feeling undervalued and unappreciated in their role, locked in a constant battle with management. Fluid Shares will unite workplaces together in a common goal. It will allow for inclusiveness, harmony and, most importantly, the large disparities between salaries will be eliminated overnight. Unions would no longer have to fight day and night for even a minuscule pay rise. Arguments over the minimum wage will become academic, and Governments will save millions on reduced middle class welfare and assistance programmes.
The Challenge We Face
It is without doubt that one of the biggest challenges that we face in the 21st century is the inequitable distribution of wealth, both within and between nations. Not that this challenge is new – throughout the history of human civilisation wealth has been concentrated in the hands of the few, earned through the hands of the many. This issue came up during a spirited debate with a good friend of mine over the weekend who lamented the plight of the lower classes while those at the top earned and controlled large sums of money. His argument, and at the risk of misrepresenting it, was that a certain wealthy elite were manipulating the system through bribes and corruption to secure and grow their own personal fortunes. But in the age of the internet, democracy, and unparalleled freedom that was a position I could not accept. It is easy to rally against this elite group of men and to express our hatred for their actions which cause so many people to be ‘crushed’ by the corporate machine. In reality, however, this is nothing more than another excuse we make for our own inability and unwillingness to act. They, whoever they are, are not the problem. We are the problem.
We Are The Problem
Free will is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. We all have the ability to think for ourselves and to decide upon our own course of action. There will always be various influences attempting to sway us to their side, but in the Western world, where information is freely exchanged across the internet and every special interest group can get their message across, there can be no rational allegations of brainwashing. There are many markets in this world, the “marketplace of ideas” (first conceptualised by the American Jurist, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919) allows for the competition of ideas and for us to exercise our free will in choosing which idea we believe in.
In democracies, individuals can only exercise power if we, the people, allow them to. Iraq was invaded because the people of the United States and the United Kingdom allowed them to. Corporations grow wealthy and powerful because we buy their products. The inequitable distribution of wealth within your country exists because you, and you fellow country men and women, allow it to exist. Sure, you may rant about it – but what do you actually do to change it?
Nader’s concept of Fluid Shares is a very simple one to understand, yet within it lies the potential for a more equitable distribution of wealth. By allowing every employee to share in the profits of the organisation, and by remunerating everyone at the same level, the focus shifts to that of productivity and efficiency. Each and every employee will want to maximise their return, and will work together to ensure this happens.
The implementation will be difficult, and you can expect to experience a lot of opposition from those who stand to lose the most, but the rewards for the many will be far greater. I have paraphrased Nader’s steps below:
Step 1: Calculate the total amount paid by an organisation to its employees;
Step 2: Divide that by the number of employees. That is the base, full time, salary for each and every employee from cleaners to the CEO.
Step 3: At the end of each month, or each quarter, distribute a set amount of the organisation’s profits (say 10%) equally amongst all employees.
Step 4: Implement education campaigns to impart on all employees the importance of every dollar earned and spent by the organisation and find areas to improve efficiencies without cutting staff numbers.
Step 5: Invest in up-skilling the entire workforce – not just the ones at the top.
Fluid Shares, writes Nader, means that “we win together, we lose together”. It is a win for the owners because a cooperative workplace working towards the common goal of increased productivity and increased profits is good for their share price. It is good for employees as it unites the workforce behind a common goal and it allows each and every one of them to share in the profits of the organisation. And it is good for the company – young, talented employees will want to work for you, the public will love your refreshing approach to business and going to work every day will cease being a chore and start becoming a positive experience.
Making It Happen
By now I should have convinced you that Fluid Shares is the way forward, yet you still refuse to let go of the belief that those wealthy elite will never let it happen. But it is not up to them – it is up to you. Recognise that it is your very attitude that is preventing this from happening. If you believe that something is impossible, then it is. If people in your organisation are currently struggling to make ends meet while management continue to earn the big bucks, then tomorrow is the day for you to start to change this. Here’s how:
1: Tell everyone you know about the idea of Fluid Shares. Have them tell everyone they know – the more people who become aware of this concept and start discussing this concept, then the more likely it is to be implemented somewhere.
2: Start discussing this with your fellow employees and if you are a member of a union then bring it up at your next union meeting and demand that they start working towards this.
3: Go over the top of management and speak to the owners about this concept – if you can sell it to them as a way to manage the wage bill and increase productivity at the same time then you will be well-received.
The choice is yours. You can either accept the society we live in, or you can get out there and change it. There is only one possible action – CHANGE IT!