Starting ethics of employment

Today I started my new ethics topic: Employment. I made the following diagram, showing how many hours Alice, Bob, and Carol work at the same travel agency, and how many customer bookings they make in a typical week:

Alice, Bob, and Carol's work

Alice gets paid $1000 a week for her work. I asked the kids in the first three classes tonight how much Bob and Carol should be paid.

Most kids said Bob should be paid $500, since he’s only doing half the work (despite the fact he’s working the same hours). A couple said a bit more than $500, two said $750. Exactly one said that he should be paid $1000, as long as he’s actually working the whole time and not just goofing off. Maybe he’s just a slower worker, but if he’s putting the time in he deserves the same pay.

Most kids thought Carol should be paid $1000. Two of them actually argued she should be paid more than that, because she’s doing the same work as Alice, but doing it more efficiently so she deserves more.

This is kind of a very simple toy example, but it was enough to get the kids thinking. I pointed out afterwards that there’s no one “right” answer, and in real employment situations things are more complex because people are doing different mixes of different tasks and they will all have different skills. So deciding what’s fair pay for everyone is not easy.

In trip preparation, today we got the suitcases out of storage. We’re starting to put aside things we know we want to pack. We’ll be packing bags on Thursday, because Friday morning will be busy dropping Scully off at a friend’s place for petsitting, before we return home and then head straight to the airport.

And also today I’ve been churning through generating enough comics and annotations to last through the trip.

New content today:

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