Chapter 7: Relative Heaven

Footnote: Personal Income

Corporates promote the fallacy that an employee's salary is a measure of his inherent worth. It quantifies peer comparison. Revealing how much he gets to his colleagues is therefore embarrassing, thus inducing employees to be the instruments of their own subjugation.

But one's salary is not a measure of one's inherent worth. It does not reflect in any way the effort one has put into one's education, training or previous projects. It is not even related to what one has achieved. In the capitalist free-market, the price of anything is determined solely by what the buyer perceives to be the current market value of what he is buying. And this is simply a function of supply and de­mand. Salary is thus in no way a measure of one's general wisdom, technical know­ledge or moral determination. It is market-driven. Its revelation is therefore no cause for embarrassment.

Front panel image of my family income graphical display program.

NOTE: This graph was formerly produced by an embedded Java applet, and was thus interactive. Unfortunately, since all mainstream browsers have now withdrawn support for embedded Java applets, this applet longer functions here. The present graph image is a screen-shot from the original Family Finances program written in 'C', which you may download and run alongside your web browser as a very helpful companion to reading this chapter.

The graph (see table for details) shows how my personal income started low, grew during my early employment, reached its peak while I was running my own busi­n­ess, then plummeted to below poverty level when ageism locked me out of the com­puter software industry at the age of 49. The dark blue line shows my actual gross income in £UK as received at the time. The bright blue (cyan) line shows my income over these years, inflation-corrected to the Y2K value of the £. The lines start when I got my first full-time job in 1966 at the age of 24 and progress to the year 2000 when I was 58 years old.

The applet, which generates the above graph, uses inflation factors computed from the inflation rates for the £UK as given on Global Financial Data web sites.

The sudden substantial rise in 1998 is due to my wife finally, after 35 years, man­ag­ing to get Disability Living Allowance. This accounted for 37% of our 1998-99 in­come. She finally managed to get it because she happened to meet a part-time Care Support Worker who knew the 'right wording' to put on the application form. Such people are apparently few and far between. The irony is that she is now in least need of it than she has ever been since she first became ill. It has topped up our income to the level I received as a young trainee in 1967! At that time, how­ever, my income did not have to provide for a wife and two sons in the 6th form with all the 'incidental' field trip and equipment costs that entails, which parents are nowadays expected to pay. My wife is just as likely to lose her Disability Living Allowance when her case is reviewed in the year 2000.

Parent Document | About the graph applet | ©Jul 1990 Robert John Morton