Category Archives: Business

Remote Work and Wealth Redistribution

“Wealth Redistribution” is a loaded term. It smacks of the dark ages of murderous communist utopias and makes hard working people fearful of big government forcefully taking their comfort away for the benefit of people who they don’t identify with.

To make matters worse, it’s usually touted by the 0.01%, people who are magnitudes richer than anyone reading these lines can ever hope to be. I’m talking about people who’ve never had to count grocery or gas money to make sure they didn’t overspend, never mind even felt the sting of hunger.

But wealth redistribution doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, and it certainly doesn’t have to come at the expense of the average Joe or Jane. Remote Work is a good example.

Simple example: when you’re working remotely for a US company, regardless of whenever you are a US citizen traveling the world or a native who found the job through the internet, you’re funneling money from one of the wealthiest countries in the planet into the local economy.  And yet, it is a win-win situation, because the value you produce goes back to the US. 

The key here is that wealth redistribution doesn’t happen at the individual level. It occurs where it should: at the economic, international level, and as an exchange of money for goods and services. 

However, unlike the import/export equation, which is by most part mediated through big companies and as such (because most companies exist singularly for generating profit) a win-lose proposition, remote work-based exchanges are always mediated at the individual level, and the vast majority of the individuals desires nothing more than to live a comfortable life. 

This is a human failsafe against the fear that all the money will be sucked out of a system in return for a disproportionate amount of value. In reality, the opposite is usually true – the economics align with getting more value for less money. But what is “less money” for one country can still be a king’s ransom in another. 

It feels that Remote Work is the next logical step in the pursuit of a more stable, global economy.

Raising The Baseline

I don’t believe in the “money doesn’t motivate” mantra. It’s lazy, one-dimensional thinking.

Sure, if we consider a c-suite executive who earns a 7-figure pay-check, has a room entirely dedicated to storing Prada bags and is trying to optimize the time she spends brushing her teeth so she can glance at her kids for an extra minute before leaving home… Then yes, giving this person a 10 to 20 percent raise won’t motivate her. Hell, a 100% raise won’t do it. I’m with you there.

But what about the middle-manager who is busting his chops to put food on the table for both kids while his wife works part-time to be able to afford college? What if that guy is suddenly able to afford to take his wife on a dinner date once a week? How motivating do you think that would be?

Yes, yes. He would get used to it. We get used to the good things fast. The raise that resulted in a palpable quality-of-life improvement soon becomes baseline.

Nothing wrong with raising your employee’s baseline.