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6/09/2012

What I did to justify my pay




As a photographer or an artist, there is always the moment in time to ask this question, how much to charge for my work. A photograph is a photograph, and so is a painting. They are basically ink on paper. They don’t cost so much.

Why is a Picasso worth several millions? Why is a Munch worth just as much? And why is the work of a new artist worth nothing much more than the ink and paper that he called art?

There are efforts, skills, time and talent elements in them. As for the ancient masters, there is the rarity, cannot get any more. And there is the hype element as well as the fictitious value of investment in rare art pieces.

The value or worth of an artist is debatable and controversial unlike those of a hard working labourer who earns his keep by the number of hours he sweat and muscle on. Then there are the pen pushers or those who use their fingers instead to work. How much is their labour worth?

And there will be those who demand to be paid in the millions. Could they really justify the millions for the daily chores they did? How many workers and employees, including those in top management could really justify the money paid to them? Just tally the things one did in the 8 or 12 hours of a day, half an hour for chit chat, half an hour for shitting, half an hour for tea breaks, one hour for lunch, half an hour reading newspapers and an hour reading reports and correspondence, an hour meeting people and getting to know people, a couple of hours attending meetings, talking cock and so on. How much would that be worthed?

6 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

Values may be debatable, by those who are affluent enough to have those types of debates at their private clubs.

However, markets clear. And the prices the goods clear are an objective interpretation of subjective value. Seller offer, Buyer bids...and before exchange take place a price is agreed on.

However in government no such "free trader" mechanism exists, and by definition, it CANNOT.

Government IS THE territorial monopoly, and it is a monopolist on taxation and law. Its functions, structure and actions are backed up by law. Sometimes the law is based on reason. But most of the time the law is based on post hoc rationalisation

...which means they can set prices and do whatever the fuck they like for any reason they choose to create or pull out of their ass.

Just like a sky-dwelling invisible all powerful god, when it comes to governance (the business of government) it is wise to remind yourself that:

ANYTHING GOES -- and that includes legal theft, murder, mass murder, deception, involuntary servitude, detention without due process, torture, fraud, bigotry, racism, child abuse, assault with deadly weapons...all perfectly LEGAL if done as policy or processes of governance.

muppet story said...

Very philosophical comment by Matilah_Singapura. I suppose the answer to arbitrary (ass-pulling) government actions is to keep your government on a very short leash with millions of eyes all over them, and jerk that leash right up the moment you see them doing anything not above board. And of course, quickly remove government servants, MPs, Ministers, if they can't do what you want them to do.

Clearly, there's a long way to go before we get that leash round the necks of our public servants here. We can't even see their necks as they're so adept at concealing things, you see.

To Redbean's original point, value is indeed in the eyes of the payer. And the universe of potential art customers is inflated by those who, arguably, get paid for doing... not a whole lot. Bankers and politicians, for instance, do not operate in a free market. Not just anyone can go set up their own bank. Not just anyone can go form their own political party and take over the government just like that.

So, the incumbents in both "businesses" have huge entry barriers, which they use to pay themselves monopoly rents, some of which then gets spent on status goods such as idiotically large SUVs, or expensive one-at-a-time art works. It was ever thus: if you look back at earlier cultures you will find that artists were supported by patrons (rich types) then as well. It makes sense since art is the manifestation of cultural surplus. The more surplus-laden members of society can buy more art and increase its "market" value.

Anonymous said...

You let the monkey run loose then some self proclaimed smart Alec will eventually get paid ridiculous amount of..monkeys, understand? Hehehe

Anonymous said...

How much should a Minister be paid?

Vote Opposition.
Introduce real competition in GE 2016.

That's how we find out how much they should be paid.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Muppet Story. welcome to the blog.

The value of things today is so distorted by the super rich who managed to get their money too easily. Sometimes I wonder how could a piece of art cost hundreds of millions? And now I also understand why people needs at least $50k a month to leave decently.

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