I first came across this article during finals, but I didn’t have time to post it then. After being reminded of it this morning, I thought I would share it.
The BBC reports (here) on a recent publication by the New Economics Foundation that calculates the “real value to society of different professions” (report available here). Not surprisingly, they find that higher salaries do not necessarily translate to a greater value to society.
The BBC writes,
The research…says hospital cleaners create £10 of value for every £1 they are paid.
It claims bankers are a drain on the country because of the damage they caused to the global economy.
They reportedly destroy £7 of value for every £1 they earn.
Of the six professions examined in the study, childcare workers, hospital cleaners, and waste recycling workers were seen as creating value for society (£9.50, £10, and £12, respectively). On the other hand, elite bankers, advertising executives, and tax accountants all destroyed value for society (£7, £11, and £47, respectively).
I’d recommend reading the original NEF report. In addition to making policy recommendations, it begins to unveil some of the complexity that has led to highly remunerated (and highly idolized) jobs destroying value to society and how this exacerbates poverty and inequality. This piece definitely has a place in the greater social-political-economic discussion.
Side note: As a graduating senior it is interesting to think about how my employment next year might fit into this study. How much value am I creating? And has my expensive education added to that?