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What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society....Thoughts?

Posted by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM
  • 54 Replies
3 moms liked this

Work and Worth

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What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society.

Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what's the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year.

How much does society gain from personal-care aides who assist the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities? Likely more than their average pay of$9.67 an hour, or just over $20,000 a year.

What's the social worth of hospital orderlies who feed, bathe, dress, and move patients, and empty their ben pans? Surely higher than their median wage of $11.63 an hour, or $24,190 a year.

Or of child care workers, who get $10.33 an hour, $21.490 a year? And preschool teachers, who earn $13.26 an hour, $27,570 a year?

Yet what would the rest of us do without these dedicated people?

Or consider kindergarten teachers, who make an average of $53,590 a year.

That may sound generous but a good kindergarten teacher is worth his or her weight in gold, almost.

One study found that children with outstanding kindergarten teachers are more likely to go to college and less likely to become single parents than a random set of children similar to them in every way other than being assigned a superb teacher.

And what of writers, actors, painters, and poets? Only a tiny fraction ever become rich and famous. Most barely make enough to live on (many don't, and are forced to take paying jobs to pursue their art). But society is surely all the richer for their efforts.

At the other extreme are hedge-fund and private-equity managers, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, management consultants, high-frequency traders, and top Washington lobbyists.

They're getting paid vast sums for their labors. Yet it seems doubtful that society is really that much better off because of what they do.

I don't mean to sound unduly harsh, but I've never heard of a hedge-fund manager whose jobs entails attending to basic human needs (unless you consider having more money as basic human need) or enriching our culture (except through the myriad novels, exposes, and movies made about greedy hedge-fund managers and investment bankers).

They don't even build the economy.

Most financiers, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants are competing with other financiers, lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants in zero-sum games that take money out of one set of pockets and put it into another.

They're paid gigantic amounts because winning these games can generate far bigger sums, while losing them can be extremely costly.

It's said that by moving money to where it can make more money, these games make the economy more efficient.

In fact, the games amount to a mammoth waste of societal resources.

They demand ever more cunning innovations but they create no social value. High-frequency traders who win by a thousandth of a second can reap a fortune, but society as a whole is no better off.

Meanwhile, the games consume the energies of loads of talented people who might otherwise be making real contributions to society -- if not by tending to human needs or enriching our culture then by curing diseases or devising new technological breakthroughs, or helping solve some of our most intractable social problems.

In 2010 (the most recent date for which we have data) close to 36 percent of Princeton graduates went into finance (down from the pre-financial crisis high of 46 percent in 2006). Add in management consulting, and it was close to 60 percent.

Graduates of Harvard and other Ivy League universities are also more likely to enter finance and consulting than any other career.

The hefty endowments of such elite institutions are swollen with tax-subsidized donations from wealthy alumni, many of whom are seeking to guarantee their own kids' admissions so they too can become enormously rich financiers and management consultants.

But I can think of a better way for taxpayers to subsidize occupations with more social merit: Forgive the student debts of graduates who choose social work, child care, elder care, nursing, and teaching.


nwp.org

by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM
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Replies (1-10):
JTROX
by Gold Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:11 PM
6 moms liked this

WHAT TEACHERS MAKE

A poem by: Taylor Mali


The dinner guests were sitting around the table
discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain
the problem with education. He argued:
"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided
his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests that it's true
what they say about teachers: "Those who can...do. 
Those who can't ... teach."

To corroborate, he said to another guest: "You're a
teacher, Susan," he said. "Be honest. What do you
make?"

Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness,
replied, "You want to know what I make?"

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they
could. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal
of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the
student did not do his or her very best." 

"I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence."

"I can make parents tremble in fear when I call home"

"You want to know what I make?"

"I make kids wonder."

"I make them question."

"I make them criticize."

"I make them apologize and mean it."

"I make them write."

"I make them read, read, read."

"I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely
beautiful, and definitely beautiful over and over and
over again, until they will never misspell either one
of those words again."

"I make them show all their work in math and hide it
all on their final drafts in English."

"I make them understand that if you have the brains,
then follow your heart...and if someone ever tries to
judge you by what you make, you pay them no
attention!"

"You want to know what I make?"

"I make a difference."

"And you? What do you make?"

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:31 PM
3 moms liked this

I'm a social worker and my husband is a handyman. We make our community better every single day. My bonus is a $25 target gift card at Christmas time and his is...nothing. Bankers make more in a year than we'll ever see in a lifetime and all they do is make debt for some people and money for others.


Sisteract
by Whoopie on Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM

It just depends on what people are willing to pay and what people deem as important.

Lots of people must deem entertainment important, those people get paid tons of money.

My son has a friend from grammar and HS who made his MLB debut this past week. He is 24. This person could barely read in the 8th grade.

His dad had been grooming him for this career for life. He is already a millionaire. Lots of people watch MLB-

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:34 PM


Quoting UpSheRises:

I'm a social worker and my husband is a handyman. We make our community better every single day. My bonus is a $25 target gift card at Christmas time and his is...nothing. Bankers make more in a year than we'll ever see in a lifetime and all they do is make debt for some people and money for others.


In nursing we would get a $10 gift card for the local grocery store at Thanksgiving-

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM


Quoting Sisteract:

Quoting UpSheRises:

I'm a social worker and my husband is a handyman. We make our community better every single day. My bonus is a $25 target gift card at Christmas time and his is...nothing. Bankers make more in a year than we'll ever see in a lifetime and all they do is make debt for some people and money for others.


In nursing we would get a $10 gift card for the local grocery store at Thanksgiving-

Thanks for cleaning infected wounds and seeing old people naked...how about you go buy yourself a couple of pies!

AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 9:08 PM

I'm a writer. I freelance and CAN make $40 per hour if I'm steadfast and having a good writing day. Work dries up from time to time, though, and I'm not always having an "on" day. It's really a craps shoot. I hope to one day publish a novel, but that's a hard line of work to break into.

My husband is a store manager for a small company chain, and he makes less than $20 per hour.

My mother works for the department of corrections. She makes about what my husband does, and she is responsible for determining when criminals (including violent ones) get their parole. I'd say that's pretty freaking important. More important than $20 an hour.

I feel like any 40 hour per week job should pay for the basics. A roof, adequate and healthy food, health care, basic utilities. It's unfortunate that it's not that way most of the time. We couldn't afford to pay for EVERYTHING we need if we were relying solely on my husband's income. Mine either, since I could be out of work at any time. My mother struggles, even though she's worked her whole life and should be making enough to afford to live somewhat comfortably. 

stormcris
by Christy on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:17 PM

As a society we really do have a skewed perspective of pay verses what work is worth.

Mommabearbergh
by on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:21 PM
Anything in the human services field is paid very low and can endure so man injuries. Its a job that burns you out so quickly but if you are a caring person you push through. Honestly the priorities we have as a society is odd
LoveMyDog
by Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Staying a little bit more to the center.  Take a look at what an engineer who designs products that make you life better and what the sales and marketing crew at the same company make.  It really is sickening, but the closer to the money stream you are the better chance you have of getting your hands on it

meriana
by Platinum Member on Aug. 4, 2014 at 11:12 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting JTROX:

WHAT TEACHERS MAKEA poem by: Taylor MaliThe dinner guests were sitting around the tablediscussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explainthe problem with education. He argued:"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decidedhis best option in life was to become a teacher?"He reminded the other dinner guests that it's truewhat they say about teachers: "Those who can...do. Those who can't ... teach."To corroborate, he said to another guest: "You're ateacher, Susan," he said. "Be honest. What do youmake?"Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness,replied, "You want to know what I make?"I make kids work harder than they ever thought theycould. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medalof Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if thestudent did not do his or her very best." "I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hallin absolute silence.""I can make parents tremble in fear when I call home""You want to know what I make?""I make kids wonder.""I make them question.""I make them criticize.""I make them apologize and mean it.""I make them write.""I make them read, read, read.""I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitelybeautiful, and definitely beautiful over and over andover again, until they will never misspell either oneof those words again.""I make them show all their work in math and hide itall on their final drafts in English.""I make them understand that if you have the brains,then follow your heart...and if someone ever tries tojudge you by what you make, you pay them noattention!""You want to know what I make?""I make a difference.""And you? What do you make?"

Love that.  All through history, people have looked up to the extremely wealthy and practically idolized them. The same is true for those in the entertainment or sports fields. If a worker was paid according to what his/her work was worth to society, those care providers, teachers, handymen, etc. etc. would be making lots of money and those that are currently extremely wealthy, not nearly as much as they currently do since the majority of the time, their efforts benefit only themselves. I find it disgusting that a CEO makes millions a year while so very often, his employees, those people who actually work hard to produce what he sells, are living paycheck to paycheck

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