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Deciding your own pay? Don’t mind if we do
Indian MPs have voted themselves a pay rise. Fair enough, you might say, how much? 5 percent? 10 percent. Nope. Try 500 percent. And no, that’s not a typo.
July 1, 2010 3:45 by kippreport
News reaches Kipp today that Indian MPs are to receive a pay rise. It’s fair enough; generally, in your professional life, you should get some sort of raise most years, to help your wages keep pace with almost inevitable inflation. Even if it’s just a percent here, or two percent there.
And if you’ve been particularly productive, or a particularly vital asset to the company, perhaps you deserve a little more. Or maybe, with a promotion, you could take a larger step – a double digit percentage raise, for instance.
The Indian MPs will get a pay rise of 500 percent. Yes, you read that right. Their pay will increase five-fold. Kipp cannot think of another example of a professional in any walk of life getting such a staggering raise, except for the odd sports star or celebrity renegotiating a dated contract (from before their ascent).
How did they manage this staggering feat? Simple – they set their own wages. So presumably at some point a conversation like this took place:
MP 1: “Erm… fancy a bit of a pay rise people?”
MP 2: “Yes, sounds like a plan. How much would you suggest?”
MP 1: “Well let’s see. Global recession, many people mired in poverty across the world… how about, ooh I don’t know… five times what we get now?”
MP 2: “Splendid.”
Then it went to a vote, and shockingly, a majority of the 795 MPs thought that yes, actually a 500 percent pay rise would go down nicely right about now, thank you very much.
Don’t get Kipp wrong, we don’t know enough about Indian political and economic life to begrudge the Indian MPs their rise (though papers such as the Times of India have called the pay rise undeserved). What we’re amazed at is the very fact that they get to set their own wages. And similar situations exist in many political systems. Look what a mess the UK got into over expenses: All those expense-claiming MPs saying “We didn’t break the rules.” Of course they didn’t. But then, they did write them.
In Kipp’s next meeting with the boss, we’ll be asking to set our own pay. And guess what the boss will say? No. Because in business it would be disastrous to have everyone decide their own pay. Perhaps Indian MPs will find the same is true in politics.