Much is lost twixt the shovel and the Charvet

Aren’t we a great little country after all for our exorbitant wages in the most extraordinary of places.

And I suppose we have to attribute a little bit of it to the little-known consumer psychologist Dr Maxim Titorenko. If you were to try to link Dr Titorenko to the ongoing IFA crisis and the recent REHAB crisis, you would be thinking that with a name like a Bond villain, Dr Titorenko was responsible for milk yields to the Soviet Union or in charge of beef quotas from some far flung Eastern European state, such as Krakovia.

But no, the aforementioned Dr T is the person responsible for the changed consumer psychology of the  vast L’Oreal company - the same company who came up with the “Because I’m Worth It” strapline. It was a campaign that played to the narcissist in all of us. If we were choc-ices, we’d lick ourselves. It was a line that was splendid in its appeal to the greed and pride within us. One that justified anything. Positively Machiavellian in its simplicity.

However, research carried out by Dr Titorenko determined that  “Because I’m Worth It” was softened to “Because we’re worth it”  to counter claims that the original campaign sounded too brassy and money orientated.

Maybe Dr Titorenko is the person who should be getting a call from the IFA this week to try to soften their image. We all think we’re worth it. Most of us think we’re worth more. Nobody ever looks at their wages and says ‘yeah, that’s about right for me. I’m worth not a penny less and not a penny more. That’ll do me. Put me down every week for that, please.’

No, there’s always a bit of us that says now if they’re feckin stupid enough to pay me this amount, they might be coaxed to pay me a bit more, and although you might never get that bit more, you go around with a grumpy head on ya, thinking in an aggrieved way that this is what you’re worth.

Over the Tiger years, the rationale about what we’re worth became a bit skewed in that people who weren’t worth their vast earnings were given vast wages, to keep with the trend, to reward performance. However, the recipients of those grossly inflated sums often forgot about the source of this wealth and the people who were dipping into their pockets to fund it.

There are many farmers reading this paper now, taking  a break from a morning’s hard slog. Doing work that if measured in terms of effort would register high, but in terms of remuneration would register low.

And for the pure luxury of being part of the lower scale of Ireland and Europes’ food chain, they get paid less than the average industrial wage.  They are the ones who felt a strong sense of betrayal this week when they heard that their leaders were paid wages twice that of Angela Merkel — who runs a unified Germany and most of Europe for less than half of what the head of the IFA does.

Even the second placed wage in that organisation deemed less fanciful by spinners earlier in the week, is on a par with Ms Merkel.

Certainly the IFA is a major lobbying force in Europe and the efforts it put into amending and shaping legislation has reaped rewards for its members, but not on the scale that it has for its leaders. It is a major player in a country which is itself a key player in world food production. 

But by taking the soup of the highly paid, they are distancing themselves from the realities of the day to day life of their members.

Granted too you can’t go lobbying in Brussels with the smell of cowshit off your €10 three-in-a-packet discount store shirt, but the fine tailoring of a Charvet shirt, makes rolling up the arms and throwing them around the shoulder of your lowest-paid colleague all the less likely.

A fine organisation has been damaged by the revelations of the past week — but not as much as has the morale of the average farmer earning a small wage and driving his herd across the fields this evening. He too should have the right to believe that he’s worth it. He’s definitely worth an explanation.

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