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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 November 2019 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Some somewhat  haphazard thoughts/responses:

Doctors have far more job security than you tube stars or actors. Astronauts are an interesting one. The requirements to become an astronaut are set incredibly high. Why? I think it is mainly because so many people want to be one.

In my experience in both the UK and Canada, there are long waiting lists to become firemen.

Generally speaking (and yes, Michael, there are quirks to do with location and timing), how much you get paid tends to go in hand with supply and demand.

Hockey is also an interesting one, as the NHL enforces salary caps. Conceivably without those artificial constraints, the competition for the talent available would result in even higher salaries for the top players.

Note I'm not saying it's a good thing that we've engineered a situation where sports players can achieve these astronomical wages. At the same time, their careers can be very short.

Whilst on the subject: It's also mindboggling how few sports women have the potential to earn big money. Tennis is the main one, where the sport offers parity for men and women. Golf and football (a.k.a. soccer) are growing in popularity and presumably reward, but they pale in comparison to the men's game. 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 12 November 2019 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

This all reads like a lot of divide and conquer among people who really have no gain in it... pitting Leonard DiCaprio against a hypothetical doctor, a tomato picker (been there actually, but in a commercial greenhouse) versus a Wall street wealth 'creator'...

The missing part of the equation is usually the person making such comparisons... don't empower what you don't like... don't like _____ making so much then don't pay to see their movie or watch their sporting event, put the money into a fund for a fire hall seeking a piece of equipment or whatever. That is all one can do. If it were up to me a lot of things on newsstands like National Enquirer or Lobo comics, and all the supposed 'reality' junk on tv, would have gone under ages ago, but I'm not everyone. Obviously a lot of people put value on things I don't and empower it. Just enough people actually voted for Trump, or back Elizabeth Warren now to keep them around. You don't like freedom of choice, want a strong man character, or a woman with some grand perfect vision to force things? Who says freedom is fair anyway? Some old bearded fantasy dude in a painting on ceiling it costs millions to keep from totally disintegrating? Chairman Mao? If people really understood the biggest price of all that was and is paid for freedom they wouldn't empower certain leaders and take what responsibility they have for themselves. In this information age are you informing or just flapping in the wind like another sad flag blaming some other 'them' versus your 'us'? I'm not you, the people who support the things you don't value aren't either, but neither are they a 'them' to pick pointless fights with.

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 12 November 2019 at 11:44am
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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 12 November 2019 at 7:47pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
Not fame. DiCaprio gets paid what he gets paid because of how much money he generates for the Studios. Actors who don't generate as much get paid less.


We'll have to agree to disagree about this. It's fame in the sense that someone else with a massive audience, but who is not a "celebrity", i.e., not in the public eye, will earn far less than Leo.

An example: Prof. Stephen Hawking. Most people know of him, he was far more exceptional and unique than DiCaprio, but had an estimated net worth over his lifetime of less than one-tenth of DiCaprio ($20m vs. $260m) who is only 45.

(Sources for Hawking and DiCaprio both Yahoo.com)

 John Byrne wrote:
So, the question should really be if you think emergency workers, policemen, firemen, nurses and teachers should get paid more, by how much are you willing to have your taxes raised to pay for it?


Good question, and here we pay quite high taxes for this purpose already. But the real issue is that people need to be cajoled to pay for critical service workers, yet willingly shell out hundreds of dollars to see Pink in concert for example.

Once again, the common denominator is that wealth is often generated by those who are in the public eye, often aesthetically pleasing in appearance, yet not necessarily contributing a great deal to human progress on this planet. That we could pay ten Stephen Hawkings the same as one Leonardo DiCaprio is a bit of a worry!
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 12 November 2019 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply


 QUOTE:
An example: Prof. Stephen Hawking. Most people know of him, he was far more exceptional and unique than DiCaprio, but had an estimated net worth over his lifetime of less than one-tenth of DiCaprio ($20m vs. $260m) who is only 45.

Again, how much money did Steven Hawking generate for Cambridge compared to what DiCaprio generates for studios? This is the fallacy of equal pay for equal work. You can't compare the two. 
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 12 November 2019 at 9:49pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply


 QUOTE:
But the real issue is that people need to be cajoled to pay for critical service workers, yet willingly shell out hundreds of dollars to see Pink in concert for example.

I don't think JB's original question avoided the "real issue," Koroush. Paying directly by independent individual choice for a service differs significantly from paying indirectly by collective majority vote through taxes. Nobody is forcing me to vote on whether we all, whether we like Pink or not, must pay into a pot of money to be administered by a committee in charge of making sure Pink gets fairly compensated for her concert appearances. Don't care for Pink? Don't pay to see her show. Simple. But can't opt out of taxes, and even if you're willing to pay, can't directly determine or control tax-dollars either. Tax schemes are as likely as not abstruse, unbalanced, loop-holed, and subject to abuse and corruption. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 November 2019 at 7:25am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Prof. Stephen Hawking. Most people know of him, he was far more exceptional and unique than DiCaprio, but had an estimated net worth over his lifetime of less than one-tenth of DiCaprio ($20m vs. $260m) who is only 45.

Pretty insane that a theoretical physicist should be worth $20m.

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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 15 November 2019 at 8:41am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

 Neil Lindholm wrote:
Again, how much money did Steven Hawking generate for Cambridge compared to what DiCaprio generates for studios? This is the fallacy of equal pay for equal work. You can't compare the two.


Neil, as someone living in China, surely you of all people here should understand the flaw in what you've just said. In China, because clean air is free, many industries (ab)use it to generate huge revenue for themselves. Why? Because the true worth of clean air is not factored into its price.

As an Economist, I understand how the monetary system works. What I don't understand is why we continue to use it the way we do. In the absence of full information regarding the true impacts of our spending decisions, we continue to make incorrect purchasing decisions, both collectively and individually.

Everything from people complaining about paying a few hundred more in taxes for essential services, but not blinking an eye at wasting much more than that each year on cigarettes, junk food, or alcohol (the latter ironically leading to a greater need for the former) - to happily handing over hundreds to see their favourite entertainer, but refusing to spend a nickel on universal health and education. Crime rising? Don't spend more on social cohesion programs, teachers, or heck, even 5 minutes reading about the problems - just buy a gun instead!

I'm not a socialist, I don't like Government telling me how to spend my cash. But we need to start confronting people with the true cost of their choices. Want to smoke? Fine! Pay massive insurance premiums if not being outright rejected by insurance companies and refused medical treatment, buy expensive personal devices to prevent any second-hand smoke, and also prepare a fund to ensure your kids are taken care of if you die prematurely. That's the true cost of smoking. Few but the absolute elite could afford it then.

So back to DiCaprio and Hawking - I'm fine with DiCaprio raking in hundreds of millions, countless accolades and 24/7 media attention, thereby encouraging more and more kids to grow up wanting to be actors. But next time there's a situation that requires a complex scientific solution rather than a fantastic performance, let ol' Leo find a way out of it for us. Climate change causing issues? No problem - wheel out Joaquin Phoenix or Kanye West to give their imagined or very real portrayals (respectively) of a crazy person. That'll save the day!

I don't begrudge actors, or musicians, or even mime artists, of their right to earn substantial income. The world would be a dreary place if all we had were facts and no artistic works to inspire us. The more inspiring the work, the greater the reward should be. But when their income vastly outstrips their true value to society by many orders of magnitude, and in turn distorts societal expectations and aspirations, we have a problem.
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