Why a Sliding Scale?
Sliding scales are alternative payment models that address economic inequality in our society. Currently in our capitalist economy, 10% of the population owns 85% of the wealth and resources. Most of this has been acquired over generations of exploitative practices, such as slavery, red lining, land theft from native peoples, etc. A sliding scale does not necessarily fix economic inequality by re-distributing resources or using a reparations framework (giving money and resources back to the communities it was stolen from). It does, however, create a cultural shift where participants think about class as a systemic issue.
How a Sliding Scale Works
A sliding scale works such that everyone pays a similar percentage of their income/wealth for the same services. In other words, if you are relatively wealthy or have access to wealth, you pay higher on the sliding scale. If you are relatively poor and/or have little-to-no access to wealth, you pay lower on the sliding scale. Wealth and class are very complicated matters and are not reflected solely in your bank account or regular income. Here are some helpful questions to think about when deciding where you fall on the sliding scale:
Consider paying less on the scale if you...
... are supporting children or other dependents
... are carrying significant debt
... do not have sufficient medical insurance
... are on public assistance
... have immigration-related expenses
... have been regularly denied work due to an incarceration history
... make less than a living wage
Consider paying more on the scale if you...
... have access to inherited money or estates
... work part-time by choice
... are able to take unpaid time off
... receive benefits, in addition to your salary
... own property, have significant stock investments or other assets
... have the potential to earn more money, even if you are currently choosing not to do so
The above information is related to individual wealth and income. Businesses are made up of individuals and often a business' access to resources is related to the wealth status of its owners and members. Therefore, the above questions can be asked of the business' owners and decided collectively where the business falls.