AN ECONOMIST FRIEND was tearing his hair out.
He was trying to analyze a trend started by someone he scornfully described as “a billionaire who thinks we all live on one planet”.
I broke the news to him gently.
“We DO all live on one planet. Except for Kim Jong-un, Kanye West, George W Bush, my boss, my neighbor, Lift Lurker, and pretty much everyone else I encounter in my daily life.”
“Not in economic terms,” he said.
(It seems that economists and humans apparently don’t live on the same planet. But then I guess most of us have long suspected this to be true.)
He explained that Japanese garment tycoon Tadashi Yanai (pic at top) had started paying all his staff the exact same wage, even if they lived in poor countries.
Tadashi thinks all bosses should do what he has done at his popular Uniqlo fashion store chain, which is spreading fast around the world.
This got me thinking.
I told him about TRUE STORY which happened some years ago in Sri Lanka.
Everybody at the US Embassy in Colombo got a pay rise. Someone noticed the toilet-cleaner had been missed, and wrote to Washington.
A functionary 14,000 kilometers away looked up the average wage of sanitary workers in the US and added it to embassy payroll.
The Sri Lankan toilet cleaner instantly became the richest man in his village. He had his own car and chauffeur.
(Who drove him to the toilets he still had to clean.)
Anyway, the economist, a Brit working for a Japanese bank, gave me a sneak peek at the future.
Say Tadashi uses Australia as a base.
A toilet cleaner there gets the equivalent of US$16.45 an hour.
A toilet cleaner in Bangladesh earns 11 US cents an hour.
The Bangladeshi would get a 150-fold pay rise, which would literally leave him or her earning MORE than the Prime Minister of that country.
In many countries, wise Prime Ministers would rush to get jobs as Uniqlo toilet cleaners.
Toilet cleaners, pushed out of the market, might lower themselves to becoming Prime Ministers, trying their hands at running countries.
Who knows? They might do a good job. (They couldn’t do worse.)
“But I can’t work out who’s going to pay for this revolution,” the economist said.
Two days later, this columnist found the answer.
My daughters came home with three bags of clothes from Uniqlo. I’m paying for it.
IN OTHER NEWS
A GOVERNMENT minister asked citizens to smoke more cigarettes so that useful tax money could be raised. “Please smoke a little more these days: then the amount can be raised quickly,” Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, India, told reporters in Calcutta, according to the International Business Times. Great idea, Mrs Banerjee, why not urge citizens to buy ciggies for their children and household pets too?
1) “Oh! So many weapons. Great!”
2) “The air bombardment worked well.”
3) “You are defeated.”
4) “We treat prisoners of war well.”
5) “Don’t die for nothing!”
Now I know why the PLA soldier I once met at a party was so quiet.
THANKS FOR the nice links sent in recently.
Here’s one from Jason in which a guy extols the fact that human atoms come from stars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU
Here’s one from Grandpa showing a guy flying a toy plane which actually seems to defy the laws of physics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVPWed52ovI
And here’s the song that Chris mentioned about us all coming from Stardust. Listen to the great harmonies from 2:40: