Posted by Tim Stobbs on August 26, 2008
Is it me or have you noticed that most people’s pay scales seem a bit out of line of what they do? For example, we pay our our top actors/actress and professional sports players huge sums of money to do their jobs. Yet if you ask people what matters most to them we never mention movies or sports events at the top our our lists.
On the other hand we often state our children are the most important people in our lives. Yet when we ask others than ourselves to look after them we pay them a ridiculously small amount of money given the importance of what they do.
Why is that? I think it’s a factor of businesses don’t consider childcare important. In most cases your boss has little if any interest in our childcare arrangements until it impacts our job performance. Then suddenly it matters only until your back up to your old standards of performance.
So what would happen if we change the pay scales by what we collectively value most. Well for an example, let’s pay childcare workers $20/hour per kid (a raise of approximately 600%). Let’s assume a 45 hour work week. So each child would cost $45,000 of after tax dollars for 50 weeks of care per year. Which would mean just about everyone with more than one kid would have one stay at home parent, the cost savings regardless of income could not be ignored.
This would be great for parents who want to stay home with your kids, but a disaster for businesses. Suddenly about at least 1/3 of the workforce wouldn’t be available for full time work. At best they would be willing to telecommute or contract work for part time and when it suited the parents schedule and not the businesses. It was also been a boom for those really good daycare providers. People who would be willing to pay that amount for childcare would suddenly expect at a minimum a university degree and the best facilities possible.
Effectively a change like this would change our economy from being profit focused to people focused, which has all sorts of interesting possible outcomes. Not to say this is going to happen or anything, but rather I’m just had this idea running around my head. So what else do you think would change if our economy became people focused?