May 15, 2017

Why Isn't There A Maximum Income?

22K Gold Toilet Paper - $1.3M a roll

There is a lot of talk about providing workers with a minimum income. You know, an income that a person can actually live on. But why isn't there any talk about a maximum income?

Because it would kill innovation and motivation? Wrong. Curious people with their integrity intact would continue on as if money didn't even exist. Science started with an attitude of inquiry and a desire to improve life. Not patents or profit.

People rarely use large profits for good. Money should be seen as a curse beyond a certain point. Too little is not good. Too much is even worse because invariably it will be used in ways not conducive to planetary health.

“Do the very rich suffer from maladjusted conditions that lead them to accumulate more than they could ever need, or are they just greedy and selfish?”    
- Ontario Coalition Against Poverty leaflet

Look at the evidence. The rich over consume to the point of ridiculosity. Does one really need gold plated anything?  The conspicuous consumption and greed of the money hoarders infects everything, leading to social strife and environmental degradation.

Therefore, why not a maximum income?

It would most definitely enable a minimum income for all workers and their families, and avoid the corrosive effects of income inequality, and the struggles of the working poor.

What would be fair at the top end of the wealth spectrum? 1 million/year? 1 Billion/year? A trillion?
How much would be enough?

Research shows that somewhere between $50,000 and $75,000 is the income sweet spot. Any less and life might be a struggle, any more and the extra fails to increase happiness.

That sounds about right, although from personal experience I know that one can get by on much less and be happy and content.


  1. The concept of enough is not well understood or popular in our society. Once you accept that there is such a thing as enough life becomes much easier, as you no longer have to keep trying to get more. One of the first things I remember learning in economics class was the concept of diminishing returns. After a certain point each additional car, house, pair of shoes, whatever, is actually less useful and brings less enjoyment. The problem for many people is determining the point where this happens.

    A favorite children's book is "Just Enough Is Plenty: A Hanukkah Tale" by Barbara Diamond Goldin.

    1. Ed,

      You are right - we really don't know about the concept of enough. That is not surprising since learning more about that means less profit for corporations pushing us to buy their useless crap. It's not about wellness, it's all about profit... at any cost. And the costs are high.

      But once one learns about getting just enough, then everything changes. Your eyes are opened to the more is better propaganda.

  2. Anonymous5/15/2017

    I agree that a maximum wage could be very beneficial; the extra monetary wealth, which would then be floating aimlessly, could boost wages around the world to provide a suitable minimum for everyone.

    More importantly though I feel education is needed, people need to understand the concept of enough and understand the pitfalls of money and wealth. A minimum/maximum income is good but we should try at the same time to shift away from state induced financial barriers towards educated and independent, informed decisions on what really matters.

    1. Rob,

      I wonder if western society will ever embrace education as the great liberator that it is. Probably not as it would mean that we would be satisfied with more information, and less material possessions. Again, profits would be affected.

  3. Anonymous5/16/2017

    Sounds like a good idea to me.

    I hear that in Denmark there is much more income equality - this leads to people choosing the right work for them rather than the job that gives you more money. What a sensible idea. They also have very high taxes, and this means they can offer free education, free health care and free child care as well as looking after their elderly properly. What a rational way to organise things.


    1. Madeleine,

      We wonder how someone could be happy with higher taxes, but it is possible. There is proof, as you mention.

  4. Anonymous5/17/2017

    Yes, it seems an odd thing to be happy with higher taxes. But if you know you can get an education for your children, get healthcare as needed, go to work without crippling childcare costs, I guess that makes a difference. You are also very well taken care of should you find yourself out of a job. In Australia no one can really survive with any dignity on the unemployment benefit - you don't even have enough for a bus fare to get to a job interview, let alone eat healthy food. Aside from the high cost of housing here, childcare costs make owning a home out of reach for many two income families.

    In Australia university was free when I was first a student, then fees came in, now they are so high that my very bright oldest child has been stressed about the fees since the age of 14 and many kids are thinking they just won't go to uni at all. This makes me really sad as of course I pay taxes and see some of that money going towards things I don't agree with, and not nearly enough set aside for education. And of course it makes education elitist.

    From the documentary I watched, it seemed that the Danes are quite non-acquisitory. The apartments they showed were small and there was no 'stuff' lying around. Spending time together as a family was valued over staying back late at work and shopping. One of the interviewees said this - 'less space, less things, more life'.



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