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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 648)...

    Please help me understand... My own research tells me that Leaver cultures (generally, of course) divide the fruits of their efforts equally among all members (some going so far as to reward choice pieces via the whim of the tribe, but not much more than that). I cannot understand how such equal division can work in an organization that is made up of multiple members, who (for the sake of argument) contribute the same amount of work, but have differing levels of education that prepared them for the skills needed to give their part... How can I pay a Master in Business who works just as hard as the Bachelor in Business the same amount? The thought is so awkward it's painful! Wouldn't the Master be out all those years of education-investment? And if not, how can "working together as equals" truly be maintained under different socio-economic statuses?

    ...and the response:

    Rennie and I, C.J. Harper, and Hap Veerkamp made our living out of the East Mountain News. That was what we were after. None of us thought about whether our "pay" was as much as we deserved. The members of an aboriginal tribe make their living from working together. They don't get "paid"--they make a living. Members of the Neo-Futurist Theatre Company see the company as a thing that allows them to do something they love, and it contributes to their living. (They don't expect it to supply their whole living; they have other jobs to bring in extra income.) When we had the East Mountain News, one person we knew wanted to work for us, and she did. But unlike the rest of us, she didn't give a damn about the paper--she just wanted the money, and it wasn't enough. She griped about the "pay." Well, obviously she wasn't part of the tribe and didn't want to become part of the tribe, and her stay was very brief. The headliners at the circus earn more than other performers--and no one resents this; the headliners contribute more to the success of the whole operation than anyone else; without them, there would be no circus. If the members of your tribal business are in it for the money (and not because the business enables them to make a living while doing something they love), then I don't think it has much future.

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