MADPRIEST ON FAIR WAGES

In England we pay a heck of a lot for our energy. Electricity, gas and, especially, petrol, it's all very expensive. I believe that we pay more for our energy than most, if not all, other Western European countries, and we certainly pay more than Americans have to fork out. But, whatever the national variations in cost, the basic way that energy bills are calculated are the same, pretty much the world over, I would guess. The more energy you consume, the more you have to pay to the providers of the energy source.

Energy comes out of all sorts of manufacturing processes. In England we have coal fire generators, oil turbine, water turbine, wind farm, nuclear power etc. Some of these processes are a lot more technical and complicated than others. But it doesn't matter how clever the process is, you still pay the same and it is still based on the amount of energy consumed.

And why not? It's a simple, very logical system. We apply it to all sorts of things. The more doughnuts you buy the more money you have to hand over to the doughnut man. The more beer you drink, the emptier your wallet will be at the end of the evening. We all get it. It's not rocket science.

So, I have a suggestion. Let's apply the same principal to wages. Basically, the more energy a worker expends to do his or her job; the more calories they burn, the harder they work, the more money they get. This would seem eminently sensible to me and would get rid of the accidental variables that seem to inform our salary structures at present. It won't matter if your parents were rich, or you went to the same school as the prime minister, or you happened to have the good fortune to be born with a higher IQ than somebody else. At the end of the day wages would be based on one simple factor, the amount of energy expended. Just like everything else.

Now, I do realise that this means my dustman would be driving around in a new BMW every year and that the smarmy git who sat on his arse, picking his nose, all day whilst the bankers further down the chain of command (and salary scale) broke every rule in the book, would be riding to work on a pushbike everyday. But surely this is a small price to pay for a straightforward, logical and, above all, fair, system for rewarding workers whatever their rank.