Wages

About the piece I wrote below discussing compensation, I don’t think my job is special. In a sane world, jobs would be compensated based on unpleasantness and difficulty.

I don’t feel like faffing about in Excel to make pretty graphs, but here’s what I am talking about.

For instance, take a job like I do*. On an ascending 1-10 scale, I’d give it a difficulty of 8.5 and an unpleasantness rating of 6.

But on the other hand, take a job like janitor*. I’d give it a difficulty of 5 and an unpleasantness rating (for most people) of 9.5.

In a fairer world, say if an IT person makes $100,000 a year (for a nice round number), a janitor would make about the same amount or more due to the more unpleasant nature of the job pushing it up the salary scale.

I’d be perfectly fine with a janitor making $120,000 while I made $100,000. Seems about right to me.

Same for fast food workers. It’s about the equivalent in unpleasantness as being a janitor in my view – maybe worse. Personally, there is no amount you could pay me to be a fast food worker so each one clearing $120,000 a year sounds fine to me.

Don’t tell me that this is impossible. How economies are arranged is a choice. That the above will never happen is irrelevant. There is nothing in nature or economics preventing any of this. You can arrange societies and economies in a vastly different number of ways and still have them function.

Read some history if you do not believe this.

And it’s also worth noting that our society is vastly more wealthy than it was in 1960 when pay was more fair. We can afford to compensate everyone fairly, we just choose not to. (Later, I will probably go into a rant about how much I hate the “inevitable forces of history” teleological explanation for everything.)

That people cannot imagine another way doesn’t mean there cannot be another way.

*My former job as a proofreader, I’d give it a difficulty (for me) of 2 and unpleasantness of 1. It was a very easy, very pleasant job, as jobs go.

**I have never been a janitor, but I have been in the US army. Approximately 50% of the tasks you do in the first year or so is some variant of janitorial work.