The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'
"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last." [Matthew 20 1-16]
This parable justifies equal pay for unequal work. Why would this not be a better world?
We might object that it rewards and encourages laziness … but the right leadership and example would ultimately ensure that all would see that the advantage of all is served by ensuring that the least deserving are not left out of the reward system. Those with great gifts based on years of study would be unrewarded in material terms but would be rewarded in spiritual terms.
Which is greater … a material reward or a spiritual reward? If all earned the same does that mean that the lazy would be encouraged to remain lazy? Why would it? Their lack of contribution would mean that there was less to be shared. That point would be evident if the facts were made clear.
Since we have never tried full interdependence (except in the early Church) how can we argue against it?
Surely after a day or two the lazy would be seen to be lazy and a process of reason and moral persuasion could operate? In any case it seems that the example of those who shared everything in the Early Church was so compelling that thousands were attracted, and people were willing to be martyred for their belief in the risen Christ and the teaching to love one another.
Given the misery that has been caused by the present system why would the system of equal sharing be any worse?
It may be argued that idealism is impractical … but so apparently is criminally rampant capitalism.
At least with idealism the last would have a chance of coming first for a change, and the first would learn what it is like to be last, very quickly. The French Revolution made this point with the guillotine. Why does such a radical solution appeal when equal sharing was then and is now an available option?