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Malcolm Gladwell is arguably one of the finest non-fiction writers of the 21st century. He is a columnist in the New Yorker magazine. In his featured article “Why do we pay our stars so much money?” in the Annals of Business Gladwell argues that there are six reasons why professionals in different fields are earning too much money. He draw his conclusion from a heated war between members of two different social groups the professionals (the talented) and capital owners, who struggle through different arenas of history over centuries.
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According to Gladwell, in the past the talented people were more famous and greater performers compared to the present. Nonetheless, they earned skimpy salaries compared to contemporary stars. They did not have luxury and would spend their life savings to acquire simple items like cars or houses, which current stars buy with ease. On the other hand, rich team owners made big profits and offered players minute pensions with low health benefits. When Miller tried talking about union of players, none of them listened because they did not wish to annoy owners of the teams through demanding higher salaries or joining unions.
Gladwell argues that the first reason why players and stars are earning so much is because of Miller’s revolution, which begun after he visited San Francisco Giants in Phoenix, where he challenged players through a prediction. He predicted that Bobby Bond’s son will earn more in a year than what Bobby earned during all his career if they abandon the poor contract system. And indeed, within a year it occurred as predicted. Consequently, workers fought against the system leading to better pay.
The other reason why the stars are being paid more is due to Millers discovery of the fact that capital owners are vulnerable and when professionals fight for their rights refusing to work, the capitalists will always give into their demands. This occurred to him after he read an article presented to him by his father during the depression period. The article spoke of capitalists, who started listening to the demands of their workers who refused to work. Therefore, he pushed the owners into agreeing with players' demands through collective bargaining. This revolutionized capitalist perception of collective bargaining spread across all professions leading to better payment to talented people.
Fighting the reserve clause, which denied professional rights was another factor that contributed to increased salaries of stars. After its eradication players were able to bargain while owners of their clubs lost their ability to bargain uniformly on the terms of payment. Consequently, owners had to pay the players as they demanded. This was after Miller claimed that the reserve clause on the contract denied players' human dignity. As a result, he engineered its abolition despite lack of proper support from the players.
Gladwell also advocated that stars would also refuse to deliver services until the capitalists granted them with contracts with agreeable terms and conditions. This threw capitalists in fear of losing profits, therefore they gave into the demands of the stars. This made business owners to perceive the relationship between them and their service providers as being open for negotiation. Hence, they started paying more.
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The last reason of why talents are being paid more is the capitalist fear of ignorance. This fear coupled with assumptions about talents lead to the belief that talent deserves to be paid more. Although sometimes talent does not end up being talent, they are still being paid more.
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