The 'Big News' in baseball today is Albert Pujols and his salary demands. It is reported that he wants $300 million for ten years. He is hands down the best hitter in baseball and probably the best player. He is also 31 and is in the decline phase of his career. There was lots of discussion on tv and on the radio as experts discussed the merits of his demands. Probably, the vast majority of Americans would say, "Baeball players make too much money!"
But baseball players are not the only ones raking in cash. Movie stars can get $20 million for one picture. There are lots of people "making too much money" in the entertainment industry. But are they making too much?
One part of the issue is systemic. There are over 300 million people in America and entertainers connect with such huge numbers that by virtue of economies of scale the dollar amounts are just crazy. If ten percent of Americans care about a team, that is 30 million people. If they each spend $100 a year on that team that is $3 billion dollars. When you start chopping up $3 billion into parts, those parts can be awfully large!
There are less than a thousand people (from the whole world) playing in the Major Leagues. What they make is crazy compared to you and me, but we don't fill stadiums with 30,000 people nor do we have tv contracts.
If I made 10 cents for every one who read this blog I could buy myself lunch at MacDonald's on most days. But let's say that I suddenly became world famous and ten thousand people from around the world read the blog. Ten thousand dimes would be $1000. That would be plenty to live on per day! People might think 10 cents is fair pay, but when it is ten thousand time ten cents then it seems outrageous. And if the daily connections were one hundred thousand per day (such a small number out of the billions of people in the world) suddenly it is crazy money.
Most of us look at the multi-millionaires and grouse about how much they make. Many of us fantasize that "if I made a million a year I would use it to help some needy charities." but what if a third world person looked at your life style today? Would they think you are living in extreme luxury? My guess is, by most standards of the world, I live an opulent life. So the question is, can I stop being mad about what someone else is getting and be thankful for what I have? Can I begin today to be generous with what I have to make an impact on the needs of others.
I wish that I could get half of Pujol's salary. I am sure I would use much of it to benefit others. But there is little chance I will see a fraction of that. There is little chance you will either. And it doesn't matter. Maybe that money would make us less the person we are today. Maybe it would not make us better. In the end, we are responsible for what we do have. And economies of scale will always mean that in a global economy some people are going to be able to get crazy rich. But the Lord Jesus indicates that entry into the Kingdom of God is more difficult for the rich. It helps to reflect on that as well.