$70,000 a year to save capitalism
The New York Times
Gravity Payments, a credit-card payments company for small businesses in Seattle, made headlines in 2015 when it announced it was raising the minimum yearly salary for its 120 employees to $70,000, said Nicholas Kristof. The news stoked a national debate. Some lauded the founder, Dan Price, who was lowering his $1.1 million salary to help the company raise others’ wages. Pundits on the right decried the move as a gateway to socialism. So, how’s Gravity doing now? Well, there were some bumps. A few upper-level employees left, “apparently feeling less valued when new hires were close to them in pay.” But eventually the gamble paid off. Gravity processed $10.2 billion in payments last year, more than double the total in 2014. It has grown to 200 nonunion employees. Still, Price “acknowledged doubts about whether this would work everywhere.” One local entrepreneur who uses Gravity said “the model would not nearly work” in the restaurant business, for which even Seattle’s new $15 per hour wage has been controversial. But Gravity shows that it’s at least “possible to thrive while treating even the lowest-level workers with dignity.” That’s not socialism, “but perhaps the rebirth” of capitalism. Grateful employees even paid it forward: They chipped in to buy Price a Tesla.