From John Ray's shorter notes
4 August, 2017
Equal pay for equal work?
No tsank you! As Harry Lauder used to say
Most people seem to agree with the big feminist claim that there should be equal pay for equal work. Even a non-feminist could see it as mere justice. And it may indeed be just but is it never going to be usual. The good old law of supply and demand tells us that it will often not happen. And that law is one that nobody has succeeded in repealing, though many have tried
Let's do a mental experiment: What say I am that rare being, a fair-minded feminist. I object when females are under-represented in various jobs -- as as all feminists do. But being fair and consistent I also object when men are under-represented in mainstream jobs such as nursing and teaching grade school. So I agitate for more male nurses and teachers of the young. And it only takes a moment to make a good case for both those occupations getting more males in them
So how do I achieve my goal of "balance"? Women are the ones who are normally attracted to such jobs so I have to do something radical to achieve that. We could of course put a quota on women being employed in those occupations but that would mean staff shortages. No. There is only one way to attract more men to such jobs: Pay them more. You would need to pay them more than women currently get to achieve balance. So fly way equal pay for equal work!
The example I have given is unrealistic. I have never heard of a fair-minded feminist. But there are many real situations like that. If a job is a difficult and unattractive one and it is mostly men who are found to be good at that job, it is those excelling male workers who will be paid top dollar to keep them. Women in the job will be paid less because they achieve less
The job market follows the normal rules of a market. Rare things (skills) attract more money. So there could be six different people -- male and female -- all trying to achieve the same thing but getting different results and therefore different pay.
Excellence will always be rewarded and there is no guarantee that excellence will be equally distributed between males and females. So it's only in very easy jobs -- such as a government clerk -- that equal pay between men and women can be reasonably expected -- JR.
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