The Purpose of This Bl;og

By and large, liberals are very decent, kind, and compassionate people who genuinely want what is best. This should be kept in mind as we explore the Law of Unintended Negative Consequences near invariably resulting from Leftist big-hearted solutions to societal problems.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Different Value, Different Pay

Do women do equal work as men? Or, in other words, are women as productive and add as much value to their jobs as men?

It is an indisputable and unavoidable fact of life that some individuals are not equal in knowledge, experience, strength, wisdom, courage, loyalty, skills, ambition, size, appealing looks, etc. to other individuals. There naturally exists a broad spectrum of talents and abilities and marketable attributes among humans.

This is no less true within the general labor force, or even for respective jobs, than in various other walks of life.

Not all professional football players become Super Bowl MVPs. Not all mutual fund managers pick the most successful portfolios. Not all McDonald's burger flippers achieve King of the Grill. Relatively few actresses and actors win Oscars. Only a handful of designers consistently sell out their line of clothes. Not many software companies are as lucrative as Microsoft. Scientists rarely attain the notoriety of Einstein or Hawking. Few entry-level employees rise through the ranks to become CEOs. The list goes on and on.

And, where there is inequality of talents and abilities, there is inequality of work--even at the same jobs. Typically, each sales team has their stand-outs, assembly lines have their high producers, schools have their favorite teachers, restaurants have their preferred cooks and waitresses, trucking companies have their safest drivers, administrative offices have their fastest and most organized typists, and so on and so forth.

This fact of life and occupations seems so obvious to me that it ought to go without saying. However, it is completely ignored by those indiscriminately and misleading employing the soundbite: "Equal pay for equal work!" By and large, the notion of "equal work" is a myth, and in some respects the opposite is the general rule.

Furthermore, where there is inequality of work, free and rational markets tend to demand value-for-value, or in other words inequality of pay.for inequality of work.  This is why Michael Jordan was paid millions of dollar more each year for doing essentially the same job (play professional basketball) as Dennis Rodman; and why George Clooney gets paid millions of dollars more each movie for doing essentially the same job (acting) as some of his co-stars and bit actors; and why female super models get paid far more than their female and male counter-parts; and why Jack Welch got paid more as a CEO than most other CEO's; and why the salesperson of the month gets a bonus and not the other members of the sales team; etc., etc.

Is there inequality in talents and abilities and market appeal between the sexes? Can men do certain jobs better than women, and vice verse?

As indicated in a previous post, there are certain occupations that are dominated by men--such as engineering and technology and transportation and construction and hazardous jobs, etc. (See HERE and HERE, pp. 4-5)

Men are more prevalent in these fields for a variety of reasons--not the least of which is they, as a general rule, are better at these jobs than women.

Granted, part of the reason that men may be better at these occupations is because those occupations are more suited to the interests of men than women (people tend to do better at jobs where their hearts and minds are innately drawn to what they are doing), and were women equally interested they might do just as good as men.

However, it would be unwise to ignore other natural gender-inequalities like physical prowess (speed and strength and agility), risk comfort, and related cognitive/emotional aptitudes. (See HERE) It is not coincidental, nor a function of wrongful prejudice and injustice, or even purely a matter of interest, that more men than women drive heavy equipment, hang drywall, fight fires, serve on the front-lines at war, trade stocks, collect garbage, teach physics, play professional sports, etc..

This is not to suggest that women don't have areas in which they dominate and excel. They do. (ibid., see also my previous post)

It is just that, because of rational market forces, they tend to be paid less for their gender-superior talents and abilities than men.

This is also not to suggest that the evident work inequality between the sexes only exists between different occupations. Reason would suggest that, just as there is inequality of work among males in the same occupation, there would also be inequalities of work between the sexes within the same occupations; and thus inequality in pay within occupations, and rightly so.

One of the primary ways in which work inequality tends to manifest itself within occupations is in terms of experience. As already explained, women tend to enter the work force later than men, and leave the workforce earlier than men, and work less hours per week and years as men. (See HERE and HERE. p.6)

In other words, on average women have 23% less work experience than men.

The same, in principle, is true for work-related knowledge, talents, risk tolerance, passions, etc.

And, since greater experience and knowledge and passion, etc. often lend themselves to greater efficiency and productivity, and thus inequality in work results and value, even for the exact same job, this rightly translates into higher pay or inequality in pay--though, based on experience alone, women tend to be paid more than men. (ibid.)

To summarize, the harsh reality is that the sexes are not exactly working equally, even within the same occupations, and are thus not exactly due equal pay.

Consequently, if liberals are intent on demanding equal pay in spite of this harsh reality, it would necessitate either doing away with the notion of "equal pay for equal work" and revising it to "equal pay for unequal work" (i.e. women basketball players must be paid the same as Michael Jordan), or requiring women to provide equal work as men (more women would be forced to hang drywall and be as productive in doing so as men). Women would literally have to be made equal in the labor market value to men.

Good luck with that.

Either way, the Leftist LUNC here is that it would necessitate counter-rational violations of liberty--not excluding the violation of women's right to chose to be and behave as women.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

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