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Calculating the real value to society of different professions

  1. In this report nef calculates the value to society of a number of different jobs and advocates a fundamental rethink of how the value of work is recognised and rewarded.

    Pay matters. How much you earn can determine your lifestyle, where you can afford to live, and your aspirations and status. But to what extent does what we get paid confer ‘worth’? Beyond a narrow notion of productivity, what impact does our work have on the rest of society, and do the financial rewards we receive correspond to this? Do those that get more contribute more to society? With controversial bonuses being paid out this Christmas in bailed-out banks, we believe that it is time to ask challenging questions such as these.

  2. Based on value to society, I would say that the people that collect your garbage, sewage, etc, haul it away and dispose of it safely would be #1. After that the people that keep your water clean and accessible. Then farmers. Then the military. Then doctors/nurses etc.

    And then the rest are pretty obvious - police officers, firefighters, teachers, carpenters, architects...
  3. Holy crap.

    Have you actually read that paper?

    It's socialist propaganda at its best (or worst).

    It is true that pay based on market price may not always reflect the true value of work.

    But what is the alternative? The only alternative is redistributing income according to what government bureaucrats and politicans think is 'fair'. But it's impossible to objectively define 'fairness'. In the end, such thinking opens the door to income redistrubution either dictated by a) some more or less obscure ideologies or b) by corruption or its sibling, lobbyism.

    No thanks.
  4. The military... LOL.
  5. Stalin lives.
  6. Hmmm, I wonder where "retail trader" would fall?
    Probably just below hair stylist, but above those guys who sit on the corner with their headphones wearing big signs that tell me where to get a new mattress....then again, when my mattress is starting to feel lumpy...:)
  7. I didnt.

    That's why I posted the link.

    So others would do it for me.:p
  8. :confused:

    You don't think the military is important? You might be speaking German were it not for military around the world, if you were even allowed to be alive, depending on whether your race was "pure" or not.

    Of course a military has been used countless number of times in history to enslave and bully. I am saying a military under the control of a conscionable nation.
  9. I read half of the article. pffftttt.....

    What is the value to society of a fat doctor who smokes?
  10. In a traditional text book stance, traders increase market liquidity which, in theory, brings about stable market prices and "true value". Those who trade commodities are participating in this practice. Stable goods for delivery is a very positive thing in a production to consumption based society. It lowers prices for the consumer and increases profitability for the producers, which trickles down into less volatile job market for those who work for these producers and consumer their products.

    For me, those who can exploit trends and inefficiency are worth precisely the profit(loss) they derived from that exploitation. Those who are in a job that is considered a social service do not have the ability to exploit their situation. Can you imagine if a firefighter was able to negotiate a trade with a home owner who's house was on fire? the spread on that trade is HUGE! this is precisely why those in social fields do not make millions, there's nothing to exploit. It's a morals trade with large premiums to swallow.

    Traders are always given a bad rap. What is not understood is that traders survive on their ability to manuaever through difficult situations. They have no welfare system, there is no government bailout, there is no health benefits, pensions, 401ks, medicare, employer holiday parties or celebrations. There is only risk in the form of taxes, fees, and razor thin margins. If a trader has a bad day, he doesn't eat and struggles with bills. If a cop has a bad shift, he drinks in the security and comfort of the home earned securely with little financial risk.

    If we look at it in this perspective, anyone would be crazy to take up all this risk with little chance of survival.
  11. An extreme proviso; yet to be seen in the real world.

    Don't confuse 'protecting the USA' with 'protecting US interests'. Don't confuse 'brainwashed drivel ' with 'sound thinking' either.

  13. by any legitimate standard bureaucrats and politicians would have to be at the absolute bottom. their value to society is not only nil but actually negative.
  14. "by any legitimate standard bureaucrats and politicians would have to be at the absolute bottom. their value to society is not only nil but actually negative."

    Couldn't agree more. What about entertainers? Hollywood and sports celebrities, are they worth their pay?
  15. Traders would be good. Long term investors would be even better. And national guard on top of it all.
  16. IMO the most important profession, and definitely the most valuable (or destructive) to society, is political leadership. Poor political leadership results in either your country being conquered and potentially wiped out e.g. Carthage, Aztecs/Incas; or it being independent but turning into a complete hellhole and/or exterminate its own people e.g. USSR, Zimbabwe, N Korea, Cambodia etc; or it vastly underperforming its potential e.g. China, Brazil, India.

    The next most important is the armed forces. If you have a crap army and generals and an enemy has a great one, you are dead meat.

    Everything else is pretty much secondary. Some people mention things like police or doctors. They forget that up until Robert Peel, most countries didn't actually have any police force. So for all but 200 years of human history, *police didn't exist*. We got by reasonably with just vigilantism and court-appointed bailiffs.

    Ditto with doctors. Up until around the 17th century, treatment by a doctor actually *increased mortality*, because most of their treatments were harmful e.g. leeching, blood-letting and so on. Again, humans existed for thousands of years without any competent doctors.

    Sure, both of them provide a very useful service. But N Korea has doctors and police, and I wouldn't want to live there. The high seas have no doctors and no police, and I'd be fine sailing round the world for a year or two. Saudi Arabia or Iran would be better off with no police than its current police force.
  17. Really? Let's take the government of a western democracy, for example the USA, and imagine transferring it in exchange for the government of, say, N Korea. In each case the government will have absolute power.

    Do you think for a moment that the USA under N Korean dictatorial leadership for 10 years would do anything other than become one of the worst places to live on the planet? Do you think that N Korea governed by the current US Congress, president, and supreme court would do anything other than improve massively from its current status?

    Compare the fates of Nigeria and Singapore since independence 50 years ago - pretty much the entire difference is down to differing quality of political leadership. Can you think of any other job that can make such a huge difference, whether positive or negative, to the quality of people's lives?
  18. I think Scientists and Entrepreneurs are likely a lot higher up in the grand scheme of things than politicians or the military.. but in 3rd world countries I guess being a scientist or an entrepreneur is a kind of luxury...
  19. How about the value to society of lazy academics/communists who do nothing but write these kind of papers?

    btw this is just Marx done all over again, the labor theory of value has been shown to be crap, doesn't stop these brilliant 'think tanks'- surely that must be a joke...
  20. +1

    "Fairness", a subjective word means different things to different people. You are worth what ever u can get your hands on legitimately, its that simple.

    How can a trader think this way, our job contributes almost nothing to society. For that matter what the hell do most journalists contribute to society, opinions skewed by their political alignment? What do athletes, actors, singers, entertainers contribute to society, nothing of tangible value.

    How about business though, they contribute virtually all products and services, and the chips fall where they fall, so what is the problem with how they compensate their employees?

    I have a huge problem with the bailouts, should not ever happen, those massive banks should have went tits up. That is real wealth redistribution (and natural).
  21. Well put:p
  22. I agree. However, we in the U.S. have already fallen victim to income redistribution "either dictated by a) some more or less obscure ideologies or b) by corruption or its sibling, lobbyism."

    I believe that when there is free and unfettered competition in the market place wealth tends to be distributed fairly. Unfortunately in the "capitalist" U.S. the government has, in recent years, failed rather badly in it's proper role of preventing monopolies and cartels. In fact the government has been complicit in preventing a free and open market place, and has become the hand maiden of the regulated rather than the other way around. The result has been unfair and unreasonable concentration of wealth and a shrinking, in recent years, of the middle class with greater numbers barely above the arbitrary poverty line.

    Consequently, if these defects in "capitalism" are ever to be successfully addressed, one could expect to see some redistribution of wealth from those at the upper end to those lower down in the wealth spectrum. If that happens, we will be certain to hear the cry of "socialism" coming from those who have benefited the most from the government-business partnership, when all that is really happening is a correction of past excesses.
  23. Indeed.

    Some people need to be taught basic supply and demand.

    And the monopolistic aspect of our economy.

    Thanks God this is a British paper. Who care about the British anyways??

  24. I was thinking the same thing while reading it; and I was trying to keep an open mind.
  25. Until we can actually agree on the purpose and meaning of life, the only logical position is that we are all more or less equally worthless.
  26. not equally... Americans consume 33 times that of someone from india... :D