Equality of sacrifice

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Equality of sacrifice is a term used in political theory and political philosophy to refer to the perceived fairness of a coercive policy.

John Stuart Mill noticed that citizens often view taxation laws as being fair, as long as taxation is also applied equally to everyone else in society.[1] Political theorist Margaret Levi applied the term to the perceived fairness of conscription in democracies, to which citizens may consent as long as conscription is enforced as a universal duty – as opposed to elitist and exceptionalist policies, as it will sometimes occur in partial mobilization.[2]

The term was also adopted by Lee Iacocca[3] who, as the president of Chrysler, lowered his salary to less than a dollar a year before asking union members for radical wage cuts in order to deal with the company's financial difficulties.[4] During the financial crisis of 2007–2010, Iacocca's example has often been mentioned in opposition to "unconditional" government bail-out of failing companies. In a letter to the leaders of the big three U.S. automakers, Senator Chuck Grassley said that before receiving a government bailout executives should follow the example of former Chrysler head Lee Iacocca and cut their own pay:

Lee Iacocca essentially worked for pennies to demonstrate leadership and forcefully prove to his colleagues that he was ready to make sacrifices to reinvigorate Chrysler [...] Today’s executives could learn a lot from this example. They should take every step possible, including cutting executive salaries and bonuses, and exhaust all alternatives before coming to the taxpayers for tens of billions of dollars in help.[5]

Some economists believe that the minimum wage laws in the United States lead to less equality because young black males are less likely to be able to get a job when the minimum wage is increased; this inequality exists primarily because young black workers typically live in urban areas where the food and drink industry, who mainly pay their workers minimum wage, are prevalent.[6]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "As a government ought to make no distinction of persons or classes in the strength of their claims on it, whatever sacrifices it requires from them should be made to bear as nearly as possible with the same pressure upon all [...] Equality of taxation, therefore, as a maxim of politics, means equality of sacrifice." John Stuart Mill. 1848. Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, p. 804 [1]
  2. ^ Levi, Margaret. 1997. Consent, Dissent and Patriotism. Cambridge University Press (ISBN 052159961X) p. 26
  3. ^ Iacocca and Novak. 1984. Iacocca: An Autobiography. New York: Bantam Books. Chapter 20.
  4. ^ Choi, Yeon and Mai-Dalton, Renate R. 1999. "The Model of Follower's Responses To Self-Sacrificial Leadership: An Empirical Test". The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 10, Issue 3 (November 18) p. 398 [2]
  5. ^ Hancock, Jason. Nov. 14, 2008. "Grassley calls on automakers to cut executive salaries". The Iowa Independent [3] (Retrieved May 28, 2009).
  6. ^ Even, William. "Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases". Employment Policies Institute. Retrieved 30 April 2012.