Monday, February 2, 2009

February, the Cruelest Month?: Economic Blues

OK, the inauguration was last month. Job losses increasing. Market and home prices continue to fall/barely hanging on. The Super Bowl, replete with Bruce Springsteen and a fourth quarter wrestling match between the West and the Rust Belt, hampered by by economic blues. Change. Check. Post-party governance. Nope. Hope. Ch....eck, for now. Ya gotta believe.

Printing The NYT Costs Twice As Much As Sending Every Subscriber A Free Kindle
http://www.alleyinsider.com/2009/1/printing-the-nyt-costs-twice-as-much-as-sending-every-subscriber-a-free-kindle

Quo Vadis: Salaries, Jobs, and Equity.
The NY TIMES article on "The Big Fix" was interesting until it ridiculously equated "Big Oil" "COAL" "WALL STREET" and "Teachers Unions" as issues that need to be addressed (i.e., tamed) before the economy can be "fixed". A different article, on another issue entirely,seems to address the absurdity of this position, and the entire issue of wealth, greed, and the workplace. Huge salaries to hire "The Best"?
Howard Jacobson: You can never get enough sex, but you can have too much money
Society will always be unjust. The question is how great we can bear the disparity to be

The weakest argument made for excessive earnings is that only by offering a fortune do you attract the right person. It should always have been obvious that that's a truism which proves its very opposite. If it's only the fortune that makes the job suitable for the man then the man is by definition unsuitable for the job. Even banking – the one place where the rapacity criterion might have applied – has proved that. The greedy, we now know, are not even good at greed. And were it true that we must pay the most to get the best, why do we argue differently when it comes to the jobs we prize above all others? Let teachers or nurses strike for half a day to improve their pittance and they are accused of irresponsibility and greed, of not honouring the sacred codes of selflessness we associate with their professions. Here the very opposite to the avarice principle prevails: we pay the least to get the best.
A sentimental assumption about job satisfaction underlies this double thinking. Teachers and nurses, we say, do what they do because they love to do it; for them the calling is its own remuneration. (An assumption that doesn't look the other way, with our pitying the poor banker for whom the only relief from the grinding unrewardingness of his job is the prospect of a seven-figure bonus.) But however true it is that the best of what we do we do because we choose to, and let money come or let it not, extreme inequalities in pay must create discontent. Society will always be unjust – not only unequal but undiscriminating – in its distribution of rewards. The question is how great we can bear the disparity to be; and when a banker gets more in his Christmas box than the entire annual teaching salary of a failing inner-city comprehensive – though not so failing as the banker's bank – we have passed the point of tolerance. I might have tried to calculate how many undernourished children could be fed with the money the average Premier League footballer earns every time he misses a penalty, but we indulge footballers. Like rock stars and actresses they get us through the grey days of life in an innocent reverie of emulation, which is I suppose preferable to envy.

Article here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/howard-jacobson/howard-jacobson-you-can-never-get-enough-sex-but-you-can-have-too-much-money-1521706.html

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Current Reading

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  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
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Current Listening

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