Tag Archives: money

Dilbert’s Salary Theorem

Dilbert‘s “Salary Theorem” states:

“Scientists and Engineers can never earn as much as administrators and sales people.”

This theorem can now be proved mathematically:


Power = Work / Time and,
Knowledge is Power

Substituting knowledge for power, we obtain:

Knowledge = Work/ Time

If time = money, then:

Knowledge = Work/ Money

Solving this equation for money, we obtain:

Money = Work/ Knowledge

Therefore, as knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion: the less you know, the more you make.

(I’d like to give credit to the original author of this gem, but so far the origin of this saga remains unknown – if you know, please tell!)

Currency: Time instead of Money?

The Spanish are doing an interesting experiment: In Spain They Swap Money for Time, essentially allowing time-banks.

While the article (IMHO incorrectly) wonders whether there is anything anti-capitalist about the ideas (I don’t think they are), there is nothing intrinsically wrong  with using a different currency to money. The problem typically lies with governments, which rely on

  1. skimming economic value-add activity (sales tax, GST, VAT, BTW, MwS, etc) to raise revenue;
  2. applying monetary controls, usually exerted by an independent central bank.

So the actual issues that need to be resolved are really quite funky. Of course you can give and charge interest on time, and you can tax it – but the taxing does not immediately translate into government revenue. If you wish to maintain a form of sales tax, then either people will have to owe the government a fraction of their time, or there needs to be a conversion to money.

If the government were a participant in the same time-economy, it could use the “time revenue” it raises to get things done, either directly (same people doing part-time work for the community) or indirectly (time “spent” through other companies in the system).

While money is not a necessity for an economy to work, it is a convenience – a convertable/neutral common currency. Having multiple currencies is generally not liked by governments as it affects their control, regardless of the merits. Just think of countries where the USD or EUR is the effective currency because the local one has become worthless (with huge inflation problems). Either that, or barter-style trade tends to pop up when countries are in tough economic times. People do what is practical to get by. But if authorities choose to actively allow/promote this activity and adjust the government processes to work with it, I think it can be made to work.

Voting with your wallet for the world you want

Anna Lappé said this nicely with

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

Of course this affects various aspects: whether you spend that money at all for a specific purpose, where you spend it (with whom), and how much.

In Upstarta terms, any choice (action or inaction) has consequences, and thus you own the consequences as much as the choice, they don’t “just happen”. Often the consequences are quite predictable, and if they’re not in line with where you want your company to go, that choice would be the wrong one. So for an Upstarta, Anna’s choice actually applies to any decision, not just those directly costing money.

Many companies don’t consider these things, but it doesn’t cost much extra effort and the secondary effects are worthwhile as well as the “feel good factor” for yourself and your company. It’s not something you would actively use in marketing (that’s uncool), but others will notice and the proactive stance will score you credit and that’s likely to attract extra business of the kind you want. So it can seriously ease your client acquisition process and thus in fact save money and effort there.