thedailybell.com / By Tibor Machan / January 03, 2013
Since ancient times some people have considered the market place an unruly forum in which to determine whose work and what commodities are worth how much. With Marxism this view acquired a pseudo-scientific status. The complaint that when free individuals and groups exchange goods and services some will get more for their contributions than they deserve reaches the level of a total ideology.
Before this complaint and its ideological expression are dismissed, it is important to understand their appeal. It isn’t very difficult to empathize with the complaint when we restrict it to individual instances. Most people have experienced a feeling of dismay with what certain producers in the market receive for their work. The pop music groups make millions of dollars for grinding out a few pleasant but clearly not phenomenal songs. A boxer gets millions of dollars for going eight or so rounds before knocking out his opponent. A television commentator collects some $200,000 a year for uttering two minutes worth of banalities twice or three times a week for about half the season. A New York Times columnist makes a bundle from writing flawed economic commentaries! Surely these folks are not worth all that money – or so the thought occurs to some of us. Especially when others, who make far more worthy contributions, receive far more modest remunerations for their efforts.
These sorts of considerations are natural, even if not fully justified in the total context. We cannot deny that monetarily speaking the worth of many a product and producer is in some sense over or under estimated. Out of this impression, natural enough in individual instances, grows a very dangerous ideological perspective. But one must appreciate that some of the individual instances make sense.
Now really − what foolishness prompts people to pay that kind of money for such frivolous results or charge so little for the same? And it is not unreasonable, now and then, to question the wisdom of various people when they do shell out enormous sums of money for goods or services while other, quite objectively more worthwhile products (even to them individually) could have been purchased for a more sensible price and some sell something quite worthwhile for but a nominal price.