relativity of greed and need
Greed and needs are indeed all subjective terms. Janadas Devan wrote an article today about the self imposed poverty of American civil servants and how Clinton feared to raise his own salary but instead raised his deputy's to double what Clinton got. This was a trick which Clinton thought would work for him, for Congress to raise his too since people below him were earning more than him. A clever 'raise your salary formula' without asking for it. Raise others' first and yours will come naturally. I got side track a little. Janadas also quoted Gandhi. Give that man a piece of cloth and he would have enough to wear for a year. His wardrobe probably had less than a dozen pieces of white cloths. But he had enough. He gave up practising medicine to become a penniless politician. But he is a poor example of what humans are. He shall be confined to history in the same chapter as Mother Teresa. The inhuman beings whose personal needs and ego are minimal and almost non existent. Back to being humans and having a stomach full of greed, envy and jealousy. No sensible man will argue that we should not pay civil servants well even if the word servant is a myth. But the trick is how well? Another very subjective word. 'Give me a piece of cloth and I will be happy.' I can hear Gandhi saying that sincerely. Let me add my subjective view of what is being paid well. For the top civil servants, to be able to afford a landed property, driving a mercedes, bring family for annual holidays, have dinner in a good restaurant every weekend, can afford to send children overseas for their education etc, and free from monetary worries of not being able to afford the above, I think these will be comfortable. Then how much to pay is still relative. At the lower end of the senior civil servants, lets say able to afford a 5 room HDB flat, a 1.6 litre Japanese car, to support a small family of 4, not necessary overseas education, and the weekend makan in a small restaurant, and the annual holidays to nearby countries. These, I think should be adequate for a start for the young civil servants. Are we paying our civil servants well enough for these niceties in life? Or shall we pay them more, double these qualitative references? Often the top honchos will only be concerned about the millions they are getting and the millions they are not getting. Not many will be concerned about the few thousands that the lower staff should be getting and not getting. That is what greed, envy and jealousy were in the stratosphere.