Call for 'fundamental rethink' of value of work

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Bob26003, Dec 22, 2009.

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  1. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Hospital cleaners are worth more to society than city bankers, according to a new method of calculating the value of different jobs published today.

    The new economics foundation (nef) called for a "fundamental rethink" of how the value of work was recognised and rewarded.

    The think tank said its study shattered some of the myths used to justify high pay and argued that workers such as hospital cleaners or waste recycling workers created more value to society.

    The report, A Bit Rich?, said: "High pay comes on the back of extraordinary profits, made possible because companies do not have to pay the full costs of their activities. Some of the costs of production may be hard to see, such as greenhouse gas emissions or the impacts of sweated labour, but someone is bearing them now - or in the future.

    "Until the prices of goods and services reflects the true costs of their production, incentives will be misaligned. This means damaging activities will be relatively cheap and profitable, whilst positive activities will be discouraged."

    Eilis Lawlor of the nef said: "Pay levels often don't reflect the true value that is being created. As a society, we need a pay structure which rewards those jobs that create most societal benefit, rather than those that generate profits at the expense of society and the environment."

    The report called a high pay commission to recommend a maximum national pay differential, the introduction of a transaction tax to reduce high risk and unsustainable trading and added that high pay should be "reined in."


    I could not agree more.

    A teacher or nurse is far more valuable to society IMO than a derivatives trading paper pusher.

    So why are we underpaying teachers and nurses and WAY OVERPAYING scumbags?
  2. Tobes

    Tobes Well-Known Member

    I think one of the most valuable jobs we have is the garbageman. Without garbagemen, we would all be wallowing in or own filth (not necessarily in our homes, but in our towns and cities), and the world would be dirty and a lot more disease infested than it is already. It doesn't mean they should be paid more though, in my country they get paid enough already.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2009
  3. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    We're not communists, wages are determined on the free market. If you increase the pay for hospital cleaners, you'll have a glut of people trying to get jobs as hospital cleaners, and naturally the pay level will decrease until supply and demand are matched.

    "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it" - and this includes occupations.
  4. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Dude, we are so not a free market. not even close. The free market failed along time ago

    and this latest taxpayer gift to the banks is the latest example of the failure of free market principles.

    real wages in this country have been stagnate for the last thirty years even as productivity and hours worked has risen.

    That is a MAJOR failure ................
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2009
  5. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Way to skip over my actual argument and jump into semantics (where you are erroneous, as I did not state we are free market but rather that wages for hospital cleaners are determined by free market principles - supply and demand must meet.)
  6. the fleet asleep

    the fleet asleep Well-Known Member

    Bob is right, we havent been a free market since the Fed was established in the early 20th century. If you pay close attention to it, youll notice that no one ever calls the American economy a free market system. In our system, the businesses at the top dictate the wages of everyone below them through what the lovely Mr. Ronald Reagan used to call "trickle down economics. What Mr. Reagan did not openly say is that in a trickle down economic system, the people at the top control the flow of this trickle. Its just a matter of market leverage.

    Theres two trains of thought on the matter. On one side, we can implement more socialistic ideals, and on the other, we can reinstate the free market system. The socialist route has the government taking control of large portions of the market (as was the case with the recent bank buyout (instead of allowing the market to kill off the inefficient and bolster the efficient, the government paid to bolster the inefficient, and all but killed all the smaller more efficient businesses). The free market route would have businesses on an individual level determining how competitive they want to be, rather than allowing the larger businesses in their field to determine how competitive they can be through market strong arming. Personally, I believe you can have a little of both and create a far superior market for both the consumer and the businesses, but there is no doubt that the system as it is, is entirely broken. In facing facts, though, there will never be a free market in America again, as the vast majority of our leaders were/are/will be heads of big business. Of course, the blame associated with voting a non stop stream of businessmen into power for 150 years lies with the populace.
  7. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

    Well said Alan, if you want to yell at someone Bob go have a talk with Mr. Bernanke ;)
  8. the fleet asleep

    the fleet asleep Well-Known Member

    This is the issue. Without a free market, the illusion of free market principles is just that. Supply and demand is all fine and good, but in a system with as little choice as the one we live in, supply control dictates demand on nearly every level.

    Look at it this way. If a large cleanser company, or a few of them together, made a cleanser so powerful that they could convince the government that it should be law that all hospitals use a cleanser to the standards only this one cleanser could provide, they could charge anything they wanted for it. Because this cleanser is so powerful, and it is so expensive, the hospital cleaners would see their wages rise universally, as they would be handling large amounts of hazardous expensive materials. Through this set of actions, the cleanser company has dictated the wages of the hospital cleaners, and not at all through free market principles. What happened in this hypothetical situation was that the businesses at the top simply controlled the flow of the trickle.

    Of course, when the hospitals could no longer afford this mandated cleanser, the government would instate aid grants to keep the hospitals from closing. While it would look as though the government was saving hospitals, all theyre saving is the cleanser company's profits at the expense of the taxpayers.

    This is just some fictional situation I made up, but this very thing is happening in all facets of the American (and the World) economy. The illusion that free market principles dictate anything is one that politicians love to put forth (like when politicians say "the market will take care of itself", when it clearly cant do after 100 years without a free market), and one that people gobble up. Without a free market, free market principles dont exist. Its like putting a space suit on and calling yourself an astronaut 100 years after the space program was disbanded.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2009
  9. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

    Just like how a university can constantly inflate tuition costs as they know their students will be able to obtain the outrageous lines of credit needed to go to these schools. In return people cry that we need more government intervention which in turn rises the costs even higher.
  10. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    OK I see your argument. I dont believe that either tbh. PPl have to work, they do not have a choice. They have to accept what wages are given. Especially since our labor movement is nearly dead.

    The vast majority of ppl cannot pick up and quit to find a better paying job.

    Also, industries collude to keep wages low.

    Also, how can we compete with third world wages?
  11. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Without Gov. these Universities would not even be open.

    Gov. is not the enemy Mike

    Gov. is the only institution in which the people can potentially have a say.

    That is why the right wing and corporate media have labeled gov as bad.

    Because it is potentially democratic.

    The corporation is not


    The Gov. has a constitutional role to look out for the "General Welfare" of the people. Its in the constitution and so many right wingers ignore it.


    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Corporations do not have this burden
  12. Hache

    Hache Well-Known Member

    "High pay comes on the back of extraordinary profits"

    I dont think that is true directly, wages are set by supply, demand and job qualification.

    The arguement of someone's job is more important means nothing in the west, its been going on for years, it isnt something new, how many times are we going to hear that sports stars shouldnt be paid more than doctors and nurses. The profit in sport creates a demand for the best which is a select few.

    I'm also sick of whinging about the bail out of banks, some bankers have probably used the bail out money wrong again, some for their own wages, that is proven and should be clamped down on.

    But to say we shouldnt bail out banks, havent we learnt our lesson from history. After the wall street crash the american government did not bail out banks, they let them suffer for their mistakes, this caused depression, global depression and recession which in turn was a major economic cause of the 2nd world war and the need for imperialism to stabilise economically.
  13. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    I agree TFA's balanced assessment. In the end, we need to find a middle ground. Private institutions don't have the same accountability, transperancy, and obligations to the public as government ones. Furthermore, there is no true way to influence them through public action either: boycotts and the like can only go so far compared to regular elections.

    As the same time, government, if given to much responsibility, can be prone to corruption, waste, and bureaucratic inefficiency. In a country of this size and population, putting too much into the hands of political and bureaucratic institutions would be woefully inefficient. In the end, there would need to be a mix of the two, combining the pros while diluting one another's cons.
  14. GabrielConroy

    GabrielConroy Well-Known Member

    this isnt really a rethink its pretty much straight up marxism which has been around over 100 years

    edit: that theory of value and exploitation I mean not the political applications
  15. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Until we have election reform, we are not really a functioning democracy.

    You have to be able to raise huge sums of money to run for any national and even many local offices. Therefore this a filter.

    We need public financing of elections IMHO
  16. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Agreed. The most valuable jobs are the artists, the plumbers, craftsmen, scientists, philosophers, teachers, firemen, doctors, lawyers (yes, lawyers!)....very few et al.

    I'd guess that at least 90 percent of all occupations today are useless.
  17. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    We have become a service economy. Cause our manufacturing base has been outsourced.
  18. nos nomed

    nos nomed Well-Known Member

    If our government worked for the people and not the big companies you would easily be able to fix the problem. Unfair pay and hours, know what they used to do up until about 20 years ago? Its called strike and picket the company forcing them to either accomodate or government would come in and mediate a fair settlement to the deal.

    The first and biggest problem is for the past 40 years we have had a progressive government. More government is not a solution but a problem. What the government should lend to the people is not greater size for more tax paid jobs but as an institution for protecting the rights and livelyhood of its people (this does not mean handing money out like unending welfare) but instead more incentive for people to personally help the society in which they live. If instead of bailing out supposed "Too big to fail companies" the government had offered a tax incentive for employing more people and expanding american business we might have never seen the depression we are in.

    The pay for a job is based on supply and demand in comparison to requirement to live and be fruitful. An employer is gonna pay just enough for a position for >50% of the people who take that job to feel satisfied with the pay. But then think how much money you would save if you weren't paying 2 dollars a gallon for gas because the government has so many people being paid 6 digits to regulate gas and the companies that produce it, or how about the nearly 5 dollars in taxes you pay for cigarettes because it's deemed unhealthy. I mean where exactly is the 3 dollars more a pack going than what they took 2 years ago. Its going to pay for those "1million jobs they created this year" lol while the private sector lost over 5million jobs.

    Democracy this country has never been it was a republic which profited for many years because of capitalism. We are losing this because people simply want daddy government to do everything for them and pat them on the back and for that we are allowing socialism to take over our government and giving up our own freedoms for promises of something we have yet to see.

    Btw I think the seatbelt law is one of the largest current movements against our freedom of choice think about it you can get pulled over and given a ticket because not wearing one is considered unsafe to you. Is it not your choice to take that risk it doesn't affect anyone else, I ask what will you let them take next? Extra taxes on food deemed not healthy, or here you go the government taxes unhealthy items like tobacco and alcohol more than other items why not makeup its proven that excessive use of makeup over the years damages the skin.
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