Subject: Re: advice sought
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly " <>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2002 03:28:21 +0800

Ian Lance Taylor <> wrote:
> Tom Lord <> writes:
> > I tend to think that
> >
> > 	a) the expenses and responsibility associated with programming
> > 	   are pretty high -- so wages should be too.  *NOT* that
> > 	   this means "Oh, I deserve a lot more than that pipe-fitter
> > 	   guy", just that it means my cash flow has to be able to
> > 	   handle stupid incidentals like, oh, oops -- my monitor just
> > 	   died, better whip out $800 bucks this afternoon.
> That's not the way our society works, though.  In our society, pay is
> based on activities which other people value, not on the costs
> associated with those activities.  You know that.
> This country is full of extremely talented people who don't cover
> their costs using their talents.  Artists are the most obvious case,
> including writers, but it's also true for academics, for basketball
> players who are one of the 1000 best in the country but not one of the
> 200 best, and so forth.

This argument does not squarely address Tom's misconception, IMHO.

Tom argues that since he is a programmer, his compensation for
programming should be enough to aquire the means for his profession.

By the same argument the compensation for a mainframe programmer should
be enough to aquire a mainframe.  The compensation for an airline pilot
should be enough to buy a Boeing 747 and fly it for private use.  The
compensation for an architect should be enough to build skyscrapers for

There are a large number of people who work very hard to be in each of
these professions, but very few of them are so well compensated.  It 
might do Tom some good to meditate on the economic realities that create 
and perpetuate this apparent injustice.  It is worth reflecting as well 
on the benefit of having a society that can encourage individuals to do
thing they are capable of, even if the encouragement is not sufficient
for them to do those activities on their own.

When he has done that, he can reflect on the necessity of $800 monitors.
I have one at home, and justify it partly because I can use it for some
of the things I might otherwise want a TV for...

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