When you exchange money for a good or service, you’re telling people that the time you spent doing whatever job it is that you do is being exchanged for the time they spent doing whatever it is that they do. What we do as a society is place a value on how much that time is worth in relation to what you produce. Let’s look at how we value time in this country (if you want to find these numbers, just Google “median [job] compensation” — numbers are closest approximations I could find; I use median because average tends to skew the numbers higher).Out of Bounds - the blog of Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings. The blog was formerly published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Kluwe is withdrawing from that forum because of the newspaper's editorial policy on the pending marriage amendment in Minnesota.
Median CEO – $9.6 million a yearSo what do these numbers tell us? That for every one year a CEO works, a doctor has to work around 34, a teacher or farmer or firefighter has to work around 175, and a janitor has to work around 436.
Median NBA player – $2.33 million a year
Median NFL player – $770,000 a year
Median Physician – $278,000 a year (specialties vary)
Median Farmer/Rancher – $60,000 a year
Median Teacher – $55,000 a year
Median Firefighter – $42,000 a year
Median Janitor – $22,000 a year
This is ridiculous. We value the people who keep us healthy, fed, and educated far less than those who tell others what to do, or those who play a children’s game. You’re telling me that one year of my life spent kicking a football (I make a bit above the median) is worth almost four years of a doctor’s services? That what I do on a football field is more important than teaching classrooms of children how to learn for 22 years? That someone can spend six lifetimes cleaning up after people, preventing the spread of germs and disease, and still barely approach a year’s worth of shuffling stock portfolios and mergers, of making conference calls and speculating (wildly at times) on bonds and futures?
I say, “No”. While I spend a lot of time honing my craft, there is absolutely no way the time I spend comes even close to benefiting society as much as a doctor or a teacher or a janitor. I clean no floors, I cure no sick, I put out no fires. But we continue to pay me, and people like me, obscene amounts of money; you give us your time! We tell companies and con men, “We would rather be entertained and distracted than focus on building a better future. We would rather elect politicians who pass morality laws and tax cuts to help the rich get richer; we’d rather vote for a quick fix that makes us feel good now than address the root problems of our system.”..
p.s. Some may call me a hypocrite for being a part of the system, for entertaining rather than teaching. To you I say this: “Change the system. Put me out of a job. Pay the teachers and firefighters and doctors and janitors what you pay me, and I’ll gladly do those jobs instead. Value the useful, and not the merely entertaining or self promoting; give a voice to the currently voiceless. Unfortunately, as it stands, I can only operate in the framework we’ve all created, the society that millions upon millions of Americans erect every Sunday, every election cycle, with every bailed-out bank and golden parachute they fund while bridges crumble and schools shut down.”
Are you not entertained?
05 November 2012
"Panem et circenses"
("Bread and circuses")