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James Gallarda

Executive Director, Novartis

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Top tier employees should for 1 year offer a pro-rated percentage of their total income for increasing the number of lower tiered employees

Note: although this idea is US-centric, the author's intention is to see if it might be generally transportable across national boundaries....

In the Sunday, Sept 4 2011 NY Times, Robert Reich offered an opinion asserting "If wealth is not more widely shared, the economy will never produce enough jobs". In an associated figure, from 1980-Present, the top fifth earners' income gains rose 55%, while the bottom fifth declined 7%.

In the same issue, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, published a full-page "Letter to Concerned Americans" encouraging business leaders to "do all we can to break the cycle of economic uncertainty that grips our country by committing to accelerate investment in jobs and hiring".

Since company human resource departments know that effective objectives often include "SMART" criteria (i.e. they are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely), why not put this SMART idea to the test? What impact might this make in reducing unemployment? Could the model be transportable in other countries?

Where to start:
1) Top 20% earners voluntarily offer 5% to 1% (pro-rated across band) of their current compensation.
2) Monies reallocated directly to new hire program with participating companies quantitating their job creation with an independent agency
3) Participating companies profiled weekly in the national media, along the lines of ABC News "Made in America" series

Just an idea. Can the talented TED's readership improve upon it?

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    Sep 8 2011: Hmmm...

    In the spirit of fostering an upward spiral dialog, I would respond as follows. The idea is not about an individual adjusting salary with no purpose, but with the intent of reallocating moneies towards generating jobs. The facts support the notion that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, with poverty being largely the result of lack of employment. There have been several ideas about the distribution of wealth in society (see http://www.ted.com/conversations/5165/a_disproportionate_few_wealthy.html). Mine is a variation of that theme and is in line with what is described in many TED profiles as "seeking for ways to improve the world"
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    Sep 5 2011: what a hypocrisy! it is the same as supermarkets offering 20% off of an otherwise overpriced product. if you feel that your salary is more than you deserve, simply change your contract and lower your salary. there is no reason to take a fat paycheck, and then theatrically give up a small part of it. this is just shameful mockery.