This new "maker society" that's emerging is forcing artists to become knowledgeable business owners as well. And it's causing a lot of them to cry "foul!" whenever they find themselves in a raw deal.
Designers, for example, are notorious for decrying the low pay or no pay that accompanies their craft. They're angry about it, in fact. And I love designers.
But here's a little business lesson for the independent makers who are trying to make their way in the land of buying and selling...
In business, the deal that you can get is the deal that you can get.
Let me explain.
There are no rules in business. Sure, the governments tries to limit monopolies. It regulates minimum wage. You can't cheat the stock exchange. You have to pay taxes. And you're not allowed to launder money or steal from people.
But you are allowed to charge whatever people will pay for something. And by contrast, you are allowed to pay people whatever they accept to be paid.
That $4 pastry at Panera did NOT cost them $4 to make. Your iPhone didn't come anywhere close to $500 in costs. And your attorney probably drives an Audi because he charges you in excess of his actual costs. You agreed to pay an "unfair" amount because of the emotional need it satisfied.
The best way not to be under-paid or not-paid is to not agree to the deal in the first place. You have that right.
If we were "successful" designers, photographers, filmmakers, writers, or artists, it's because we were able to charge in excess of what our actual time is worth. This is, by its very definition, an "unfair" deal. But that's the way the economy works. People trade their money for their perceived desires.
Whenever I find myself in "unfair" deals, I complete the work with gusto and vow (to myself) never to do the same deal again. But I don't hold it against the other person. They got the deal they could get. And I could too.