Is it Ok?
Yes it is okay, there is nothing wrong with buying shoes that cost $1.97 billion if you can afford it. According to dailymail Christopher Michael Shellis, the designer of these shoes referred to them as a life time investment Lifetime investment: The heel and sole are easily replaceable by the owner so that they last forever and Christopher is backing up his claim with a 1000 year guarantee. Well lifetime investment is a need to us all, something to leave your kids with, these shoes has 1000 years guarantee (lifetime) which means that even your great-great-great-great grandchildren can use them as well. Owning these shoes is the same as having assets worth $1.97 billion of which there is nothing wrong with that because is something that will be carried over to your children and they can even equally split them for survival. Well anyone deserve to own anything irrespective of how much does it cost or who you are (veil of ignorance) as long as you can afford and worked for it. What we as people should accept is that we will never be the same (we cannot all own these pair of shoes), that what keeps us going. John Rawls will actually refer to this as permissible inequality; one will always try to work harder just to earn these shoes. Surely wearing these shoes can make you feel like Cinderella or Princess and that will benefit you because it certifies you as an individual.
Common Intuition suggests that there should be several aspects that could be employed to defend the concept. Namely, Deserving, Needing, Benefiting the most, Equality and A bit of everything.
Does the person/s that has access to such deserve it? Does it deserve that one individual can afford such levels of luxury and yet a vast number of people live in absolute poverty and cannot even phantom the thought of ever having access to such let alone seeing such? Have the efforts, success and hard work of this individual really handed him the outright rights to access whatever he feels that he deserves without giving a moments thought to whoever cannot afford anything in that region? Are they justified? Can the layman lay any claims to deserving anything if we look at the fact that it is normally the sweat and blood from the layman that delivers the wealth to the individual who now has access to such abundance?
We have highly wealthy individuals who employ hundreds and thousands of individuals who work hard to make them as wealthy as they are. Is it really an issue of the laws of distribution not being applied or is it the personal ideas and innovations that hand the wealth over to the originator? One has to accept that the workers we paid for their involvement in the generating of the wealth and that the larger portion is deservingly due to the proprietor.
Are the needs of the workforce above or below those of their employers? Should the wealth and dividends of the end products be apportioned at a larger percentage to the workforce or the employers? We understand that the hard work and sweat put in by the guys on the ground bring about large profits to the guys at the top. So if this is the reality, how then should the wealth be apportioned? Do the needs of the workforce supersede the need of the employer to benefit from the large profits? If the employer were not investing in the workforce, would the profits still be at the same level? Should the needs also not be apportioned in relation to your level of involvement in the generation of the profits and ownership? If yes, would that organization still exist and would there still be employment for the workforce?
Benefiting the Most:
Is apportioning wealth to benefiting the most the correct way to go about analysing if it is ok or not to have such accesses in life? Do the most contribute at the same levels of financial investments or only in providing a few hours of manual labour per day and getting remunerated for their effort? Do the most invest their time, ideas and innovations off official working hours to develop and design concepts that will bring about the said wealth? If not, then why would the most lay claim to the large portions of profits and wealth? Why would there be a need to hand over or share equally to all in the interest of benefitting the most?
How does one mention equality and not create the sense that there never was the initial intention to share equally? Shares are never shared equally if the parties involved have not all partaken equally in the generation of the medium that will bring about a valuable finished product to distribute its returns. Why would one split equally their hard-earned fruits when not everyone who will benefit invested equally in the production of the returns? The notion of equal sharing which would satisfy the majority because of individual personal gain irrespective of individual investment brings about discord. It would not be just if one party who is involved in every aspect of the production through to commissioning and another who is only involved at commissioning, that these should equally share on the fruits. There would always be unhappy parties at the end of the transaction.
A bit of everything:
How does one say a bit of everything would make it ok? Which part of the bit is more acceptable than the other? Who decides on which bit falls on which party? Is the bit based on who deserves what, who needs what, who benefits on what, how equally the little bits are? At the end the circles becomes bigger and even more complex. Being able to break everything into small bits and handing over these bits to all concerned and leaving happy faces at the end of the day. The above arguments throw everything into a spin but do they deliver satisfactorily on the required result of getting to the conclusion if it is ok? We cannot say for sure but we shall explore further and attempt to discover as to whether or not we can come to a satisfactory conclusion.
The second concept that we can explore in the interest of concluding if it is ok is that of Utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism calls upon employing the principal of the maximum good in the jungle. It concerns the distribution of wealth irrespective of individual proportions without concern for the massive inequalities that may rise from it. Would giving the majority, the 4 billion people the large facility and access to wealth really benefit more than one individual affording a pair of shoes worth USD 1.97 million? If apportioned, this would mean that each of the 4 billion people would get an average of USD 0.49 as opposed to one individual getting the full amount. How would the majority be able to do anything meaningful with this distribution? If we take into consideration Rawls ideas as discussed in his book The Veil of Ignorance, he tends to suggest that the distribution and partitioning of wealth should be done without taking into account demographics and any other knowledge of the parties that will benefit in order to be fair in the process. Is he implying that knowledge of the fact that there is absolute poverty and immense wealth on the opposite sides of the line would affect how the apportioning is done? Is this too much information that interferes with a just process? To an extent the answer is yes. The rich defend their wealth as being earned from hard earned works. The poor try to claim it in the sense that they manually, in some instances, worked hard to create this wealth. Even if all were to sit around the table to distribute this wealth equally there would be discord. The rich defend it because they know how it is being on the other side of the fence, likewise the poor because they dream of being on the more beneficial side of the fence enjoying large amounts of wealth.
Do I apply common intuition or Utilitarianism in my life?
Well in the interest of personal benefit and how I profit from it, then to a large extent yes I apply common intuition. I decide if I personally deserve something irrespective of my needs, whether it is equally shared in fact whether or not I deserve it, I shall fight for the large share of the fruits even if no surety exists that I shall get it. I am very selective over how it gives me benefit and returns and then I measure and at times award myself based on my feelings at that precise moment. I will always try to give reasons why people should follow this practise but it does not mean that I will follow the same every single time a challenge is faced. One is normally very selective of the principals that will deliver greater personal benefit and enjoyment in our personal lives.
In conclusion, is this Ok you ask ?
I say it is acceptable that those that have invested the large amounts of money, ideas, etc. enjoy their hard earned wealth. Others may cry and justify that it makes no sense for the huge gaps between the poverty and the wealth but in reality it is the rich mans hard earned wealth. We cannot say it is wrong because he can afford it. We can agree that for a simple pair of shoes it is a crazy amount of money and not just on the poor but we have to accept that it is the way of this world and there would be no option but to accept and conform. Is it ok to display this in front of the poor 4 billion people, in all fairness no but we must accept that they live in two different circles of life and we have little recourse but to allow the cycles of life to continue. In my first assignment I chose option E I think that individually we can and should strive to eliminate poverty and this does not mean that we should have what we feel is necessary. As usual charity begins at home. We must not forget that you can own very expensive assets and give back to the community at the same time.