Sunday, September 21, 2003

Hot corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

Inequity aversion

The Cincinnati Enquirer

He didn't do anything illegal. He just got really rich. So how do you explain the public furor over Dick Grasso's $139.5 million pay package that led to the New York Stock Exchange chairman's resignation Wednesday?

Ask a monkey. Specifically, a capuchin monkey. They're big on equal pay for equal work, according to an Emory University study published this week. When one monkey gets a greater reward than others for performing the same task, the others get very upset. They go on strike, stage a work slowdown, or refuse their slices of cucumber after seeing the other guy get a luscious grape.

Scientists surmise that a sense of fairness - and unfairness - is basic to us primates. Dick Grasso got all those big fat grapes for apparently shuffling papers while we get a lousy sliver of cucumber for working our vestigial tails off.

Sign of the times

On Wednesday an infuriated Cincinnati City Council learned that police haven't been arresting the homeless squatters under downtown overpasses because the city print shop was several months behind in printing "No Trespassing" signs. If all it takes is putting up a sign to make the city's problems go away, the print shop should crank out a few more. How about "No Waiting" for the permit desk in the city building department?

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