SocraticGadfly: Calling #hyperbole on 80-hour work ... and Gravity Payments and Dan Price and bounty wages (updated)

December 17, 2015

Calling #hyperbole on 80-hour work ... and Gravity Payments and Dan Price and bounty wages (updated)

I applauded Dan Price and his plan to raise all wages at Gravity Payments, a credit card processing service company, to $70,000. I didn't think about all of the fallout he'd face, from customers (even in Seattle!) calling him "socialist," or grumbling among longer-term employees about the amount of raises this gave to newbies.

At this point, we should cue Jesus' parable of the wages and the vineyard, arguably even more socialist, on one reading, than Acts 2, though, sorry liberal Xns, or worse, New Atheists and SJWs trying to sow tares among the wheat it's not about that. The parable is mentioned near the end of the story, in fact.

But ...

Do people really put in 80-hour weeks in something like customer service, actually visiting people? That would be 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday-Saturday, with 45 minutes a day for lunch.

Time to call the hyperbole police, workforce division. Sorry, Leah Brajcich, but I just don't believe it.

As for Price? The story makes him out to be more interesting, too.

Update, Dec. 17: A Dec. 1 story by Bloomberg makes him out to be hypocritical, not just "interesting." The big pay raise came only after a lawsuit against the company. He was, and arguably still is, overpaid as CEO for a company his size, even within the US's generous allowance of CEO pay. And his ex-wife, in a pending book, alleges spousal abuse.

BIG NEW UPDATE from the author of that same piece, now with the New York Times, on Aug. 18, 2022: After further probing, including charges that he's a Rohypnol, or "roofies," date-rape dude, and Karen Weise's asking questions for her story, Price has resigned as Gravity Payments' CEO. Read the full story. It also adds many other details to the other bullshit that popped up when I first blogged this.

Back to the original.

Yes, there's a measure of altruism. It seems like, given his citing of "Acres of Diamonds" by Russell Conwell, founder of Temple University, and namesake of Gorden-Conwell Theological Seminary, that there's a fair amount of prosperity gospel, too.

And it has deep roots:

Every day he and his four brothers and one sister rose as early as 5 a.m. to recite a proverb, a psalm, a Gospel chapter and an excerpt from the Old and New Testaments. Home-schooled until he was 12 and taught to accept the Bible as the literal truth, Mr. Price also listened to the Rush Limbaugh show for three hours a day — never imagining he would one day be the subject of a rant by the host. Then it was time to help his mother with organic gardening, composting and recycling.

Price said he's no longer that religious, but, at the same time, that this is in his cultural DNA now.

He's also at least a bit of a libertarian:
He did not actively oppose Seattle’s minimum-wage increase, but a reason he urges other business owners to follow his lead on pay is to avoid more government regulation.
Which, then, undercuts any real liberal gospel thought, contrary the SJW blogger linked above, making her wrong twice.

And, judging by one of the longer-term employees who eventually quit, it sounds like he's a pretty strong taskmaster on working long hours.

As for the parable? It's seemingly either about the universality of salvation, or with the "last shall be first," about role and status reversals, though that theme is much more prominent in Luke than in Matthew, or about the calling of the Gentiles, or some combination of the above.

It's not, in all likelihood, primarily about this-world socialism.

And, the parable also isn't about scoring SJW or New Atheist points, especially when, if the blogger had read further, Dan Price, while not an ogre, isn't totally sympathetic.

Speaking of that, I Tweeted Price asking if he had thought of not working people so hard, and even giving them an additional week of paid vacation instead of an all-cash hike. And, he has not Tweeted me back.

Update, Aug. 24: Price has responded, and without any details (hard to provide in a Tweet's length) has said his company has unlimited paid time off, but needs to get employees to use more of it.

Dec. 17 update, continued: With that said, I won't even try Tweeting Price about this. He refused to comment to Bloomberg, in various ways, about the lawsuit. He denied his ex-wife's allegations straight up.

Right now, he seems like a Christian-veneered version of a tech-libertarian type. Blech, at least to a fair degree; with the update, I'd say "moderate" rather than "fair," and note that, if employees aren't availing themselves of good paid vacation/leave policies, then they've bought into the neoliberal-hypercapitalist machine too much.

Liberals who are venerating him? Watch out. You did the same thing, at one time, for Whole Foods CEO Howard Mackey. Maybe he's more venerable than Mackey, though, per that update. Let's hope that he gets people to think outside the tech-neolib "work hard, play hard" box.

Or, another, even more recent example, is Zuckerberg, I mean Hucksterberg, and his fake charity. Is it that real liberalism in the US is that weak? Why else do alleged liberals become such suckers for stories like these without turning a skeptical eye to them?

Finally, this is an example of the limits of so-called "scientific skepticism," even as it continues to have problems with libertarians infesting its house on climate change and other issues.

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