What if we stopped paying people to destroy society?
I don’t mean to sound unduly harsh, but I’ve never heard of a hedge-fund manager whose job entails attending to basic human needs (unless you consider having more money as basic human need) or enriching our culture (except through the myriad novels, exposés, and movies made about greedy hedge-fund managers and investment bankers).
They don’t even build the economy.
Most financiers, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants are competing with other financiers, lawyers, lobbyists, and management consultants in zero-sum games that take money out of one set of pockets and put it into another.
They’re paid gigantic amounts because winning these games can generate far bigger sums, while losing them can be extremely costly.
It’s said that by moving money to where it can make more money, these games make the economy more efficient.
In fact, the games amount to a mammoth waste of societal resources.
They demand ever more cunning innovations but they create no social value. High-frequency traders who win by a thousandth of a second can reap a fortune, but society as a whole is no better off.
This author is actually quite diplomatic if you consider the self evaluations of those he writes about…
In reality, our society almost always pays those who do the most to destroy it the most money – as the full article demonstrates, sometimes in the billions/yr.
His final comment — that pretty much stands alone in terms of understanding what do do to start fixing it.
But I can think of a better way for taxpayers to subsidize occupations with more social merit: Forgive the student debts of graduates who choose social work, child care, elder care, nursing, and teaching.
(Though, in Canada, I could add Doctors, most engineers and pretty much every other profession that is focused on helping people…)