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Monday, December 14, 2009

Scientifically proven: big earners are nothing but parasites

A study by the
New Economics Foundation (NEF) finds out that the best paid professions destroy many times more wealth than their incomes, while low paid professions instead generate much more social wealth than their salaries and expectations would suggest.

For example, the so-much-hated bank managers earn from 500,000 British pounds up (yearly). Even the "worst" paid earn in 10 days what you or me may make in a whole year. Some make quite more than 5 million pounds. But they destroy 7 pounds of wealth by each pound they may create with their work.

But these are not the worst. Even if less well-paid (in a context of stratospheric salaries), advertising executives and tax accountants are even more destructive. The typical adverstising executive destroys 11 pounds per each one generated, but tax accountants create so little value that they have destroyed 46 pounds each time they create one.

In the really productive sector, the professions researched are all very lowly paid and have poor social status and virtually zero opportunities of promotion: child minders, waste recycling workers and hostpital cleaners all produce much more than they are paid. Hospital cleaners generate 10 pounds by each pound they get paid, child minders are close with 9.50 pounds generated per one paid and waste workers are the most productive of all, generating 11 pounds per each one paid.

The authors reconsider the concept of value, pondering its social dimension, which I find very much appropriate. They also chew on how the very rich manage to keep sucking the blood from the public without any logic other than their monopoly of certain structures or how in spite of chronic lack of certain worker classes (like nurses) their salaries get no rise.

Paper (PDF): A Bit Rich: Calculating the real value to society of different professions. Originally found via BBC.


Kepler said...

Thanks for the article. I always knew it was like that; hopefully others will start discussing more and more about this issue.

All those people like cleaners, child carers, primary school teachers, are so miserably paid and when I see how those bankers, financial 'gurus/specialists' (puke, puke, puke, argh) is sad.
I would also include those high profile sportmen and women, "actors" and the like. The real heroes are the cleaners, the workers...perhaps some low level organizers...and software developers who produce real value :-)

Maju said...

It's not just a matter of heroes and villains, it's a matter of things that are wrong (not just in the moral sense but also in the economic sense) and that need to be fixed.

That means revolution, compay.

Kepler said...

Yeah, sure, and then we will have the Nomenklatura telling us all to consume less and they will be living the lives of the executives and accountants, but without allowing us to have our small companies and our freedom. They will put a lot of posters of muscled workers on the best they will create a numerus clausus for children of doctors and lawyers so that workers' children can study engineering.
Dónde fue que leí eso?
USSR it was called.
Anarchism is fine for a pulpería, not for a country.
I do agree the tax system should be reformed. I also think there needs to be a structural change in parliaments so that not just bloody lawyers and accountants make the laws (including laws about how to tax), but everybody.

Or what is your revolution?
The problem with you guys is that you are so fluffy when it comes to how you plan to solve is a wee bit like Bush's "with freedom and democracy Iraq will prosper".

Maju said...

Less consume is clearly necessary but obviously most of the excess consume is done by certain privileged people, not the majority, and induced by those parasites this post goes about.

This same foundation publishes the Happy Planet Index, which, if you read, will notice that growing consumption only yields marginal surplus happiness if at all (above certain minimum, of course) but is disastrous for the planet, society and even the economy when properly pondered.

The problem with you guys is that when it comes to do anything to solve the real problems you never do anything at all but complaining of the USSR (which was not that bad anyhow).

The problem is that Cuba, with all its problems and limitations, is happier and has much less ecological footprint than the USA. The problem is that it's about fucking time to deal with our problems instead of hiding the head in some store full of nothing.

Each time you say nonsense children are dying for lack of justice in the economy and society. That is a problem we can tackle and is a problem worth tackling.

Each time you waste your time repeating bourgeois clichés, peasants are losing their harvests and cattle because the system just doesn't work for the people.

The problem is that you guys only want to keep your privileges and don't care about other people except maybe for a few minutes every Sunday at church, when you throw some change money to the agents of the Vatican, so they can fill their fat accounts with the pretext of all that damage that your elitist lifestyle creates.

The problem is that there is a war between Humankind and Earth on one side, and a bunch of vampires who rule the world. And that's a problem we have to solve or pay for it with our flesh and that of those who will come after us.

You choose: life or death, freedom or slavery, ecosocialism or a total disaster for all.

Of course, the world is full of cowards and vultures... but some of us just cannot fit in such roles.

Kepler said...

comme on, Maju, you sound like some character from The Lord of the Rings, which is, by the way, a very popular book also among those freaking right-wing Baptist fundamentalists.

I told you once: there are more than two positions on almost anything.
Mind: the happiness thing is the most useless concept to compare populations. It has to do with character, as you describe the Basques. Those guys in castrolandia would be happier than the average US citizen or Basque whether they are under a dictatorship as castro's or under one like Baptista's or anything else, ceteris paribus they would be happier and it does not have to do with some the way, still you should try to be coherent: you defend it but you say it is not a socialist what?

Maju said...

Have you read the HPI report? You'll notice that figure 6 (page 23) is a curve that shows how the HLY (happy life years) increases with GDP per capita but does in a quite odd way: for the first 5000 of GDP per capita, the HLY index grows almost vertically: from 10 to more than 50 (and these are supposed to be years of happiness and personal satisfaction in life), then it gets stuck and grows only slightly no matter how much money you add to the GDP.

The richest are only marginally happier than the poor, as long as these are not the extremely poor. The happiest country in the world is Costa Rica (but is rather poor). You can improve life satisfaction a lot without any need for more consume.

And obviously more consume/production causes more damage to the planet. So the best place to be in the HPI is with a rather low GDP but a long life full of satisfactions. Most of Latin America is close to that green area (fig. 8, p. 26) or even inside it.

So keep it up, guys, you're doing well.

Maju said...

I do defend socialism. I'm not so sure I defend "a socialist regime", whatever that is.

Socialism is social and economic, rather than political. Politics is just a mean to an end: to guarantee that there is social and economic justice, that work is not anymore alienated, that people rule themselves, that we don't destroy our only planet.

Ken said...

Everybody in the West is a big earner and parasite relative to the Third World.

Their populations want to enjoy a western standard of living. That would be true "social and economic justice" but the Earth might not be able to stand it.

I am lucky to have been born in a rich country (I'd starve in most of the world) so I count my blessings instead of sending my blood pressure up.

Like Dawkins says "some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice".

Maju said...

But you only play for yourself and this game can't be won individually.

Believe it or not society and planetary management is a cooperative kind of game. Too bad we are not taught how to play these real games.