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What Should Jobs Be Worth?Term Paper

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Entertainer Compensation

The subject of compensation and who should be earning what is a highly charged subject in the United States and around the world. The subject of who is paid what is dripping heavily from any conversation that relates to labor unions, the pay of company executives, the minimum wages and so forth. However, two job classes that get a particular amount of scrutiny when it comes to the amount of the salaries would be sports athletes and actors or actresses. Indeed, these two types of employees are often paid millions of dollars for what many consider to be a hobby or easy to do. This report shall explore the ethical and social questions about these people being paid what they are and the author of this report will bring in a literature review of outside sources as it pertains to the topic. While it may be controversial for an actor or athlete to make more than a soldier or a nurse, there are economic reasons for it being the case.

Personal Analysis

The author of this report will first center on personal analysis before getting to an external literature review that summarizes how other sources look at the matter. In short, there is a bit of social injustice when looking at the fact that teachers, nurses and other socially noble jobs are paid a pittance compared to what actors and athletes make. This is aggravated a great deal by the fact that many actors and entertainers are among the most narcissistic, politically ignorant, crass and manner-free people out there. One can look at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian as a sterling example as they are a perfect nexus of self-aggrandizement and self-importance. Indeed, people probably would not know any Kardashian at all except for Robert Sr. (the lawyer for OJ Simpson) were it not for a video tape that leaked out that contained the sexual escapades of rapper Ray-J and one Kim Kardashian. Nowadays, she's having Kaye's babies and ostensibly thinks she's the modern-day Marilyn Monroe even though she hasn't overdosed yet nor has she had sexual relations with any politicians…just other entertainers. As for Kanye West, he has stage-crashed award shows at least twice in a very rude manner and fashions himself the greatest rapper and/or entertainer alive even though many people firmly believe him to be a talentless "jackass," a word that even President Obama used to refer to him.

To be fair, most entertainers and athletes are not like Kim and Kanye. Indeed, many famous people are humble, easy to approach and talk to and are the epitome of class. However, it still remains that they are engaging in a line of work that is insultingly easy compared to the jobs that many blue-collars and even some professionals engage in every day for much less money. While one can make a pretty good case for the ostensibly over-payment of some corporate executives, there are economic reasons behind why athletes and actors get paid much more than the average person. For example, Alex Rodriguez once signed a contract with the New York Rangers for a quarter of a billion. He has since been nabbed and suspended for steroid use and is now a member of the Yankees, now in the twilight of his career. Even so, one might ask why the Rangers or the Yankees would pay him so much money. The simple answer to that question is that the revenue gleaned from ticket sales, jersey sales, other memorabilia and advertising rights more than makes up for all of the money paid to Rodriguez and the other players for the team and the Steinbrenners of the world typically make a tide profit at the end of the day. Indeed, many sports team owners are billionaires…with a "b." Some players are paid much more than others but this is due to the ability they possess, the wins they help their team achieve and so forth. Even with his now-tarnished issue, Alex Rodriguez is indeed hailed as one of the better baseball players of the recent age. Much the same thing can be said for other star athletes like LeBron James, Tiger Woods (before his fall from grace circa 2008), Michael Jordan and others.

Much the same logic follows when speaking of actors and actresses. When a certain actor or actress gets a buzz with the general public, they tend to command very high salaries for doing even a single movie. Indeed, an actor or actress's fee for a single movie can number in the millions (if not tens of millions) of dollars. Actors or actresses that have in the past or currently command such a fee include Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Much like the economics of sports teams, the investment of these millions usually pays off, although that is not always the case. There is the occasional movie that bombs in the theaters but most movies at least make back the budget that was spent to shoot the movie and pay the actors and crew. In short, while it may be unseemly to many that actors and actresses make millions for a few months' work, the money is made back in spades to the tune of millions and sometimes billions of dollars. Even if the movie bombs, the movie or television executives behind the production agreed to pay what they paid and the actor or actress agreed to it.

Literature Review

When it comes to other voices, the author of this report went out looking for credible sources on the internet. Once such source was NESN, which engaged in an interview with NFL quarterback Drew Brees. Brees, who plays for the New Orleans Saints, was asked the question of whether NFL players or other professional athletes are paid too much money. Perhaps to the surprise of many, Drew responded tritely that "Yes, we probably do. Unless you're finding a cure for cancer or creating world peace. I don't know if anybody deserves to get that much money" (NESN). This statement would dovetail with the social value equation mentioned in the personal analysis of this report. Brees went on to say that "That's the industry that we're in. You could probably say the same for actors, actresses and entertainers. We're in the entertainment industry, and business, and there is a market. The market establishes what you get paid" (NESN). This last statement also echoes the personal analysis of the author of this report.

An alternate perspective comes from the Linn-Benton Community College Commuter and from author Cooper Pawson. Pawson asserts that "every boss needs to decide how much to pay an employee. You may look at obvious factors like how crucial is this person to our business or how much does their job make me in return or how effective of a worker they are." HE goes on to note that professional athletes in particular earn what they are worth because the owners of the sports teams are going to earn their money regardless. Hence, it is only fair that the revenue receipts be distributed fairly to the people that help earn that money. Since the athletes play a direct role in the making of the money, this would tend to make a lot of sense. A janitor cleaning the ballpark obviously does not contribute to the bottom line all that much but a person playing on the team absolutely does if they are adept and accomplished at their job (Pawson). The author of this report then looked at a "letter to the editor" that was submitted to the Daily Herald in some city. The author of that letter asserts that athletes are "way overpaid" and that one can compare the salary of the United States President, which is about $400,000, to what of athletes as a means to form a proverbial yardstick. The author, a person by the name of Tusli Patel, then goes onto assert that athletes should not be making more than doctors and such. This author is clearly looking only through a social/job worth lens rather than looking at the actual economics of the sports teams (Patel).

As for whether actors and actresses make too much money, an interview by the International Business Times centered on the same basic premise as the article that centered on the interview with Drew Brees. Meaning, the person interviewed for the article, which happened to be actor Hugh Jackman, asserted much the same thing about actors and actresses that Brees asserted about athletes. However, Jackman also noted that the industry has changed a great deal over the last century. For example, someone born one hundred years ago would not make, when accounting for inflation and such, what actors of today make even if they were the biggest name in the country (Akinyemi). Another article, which asserted that actors are paid too much, noted that the younger star of the trio from Two and a Half Men was only seventeen years old… [END OF PREVIEW]

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