We are led to wonder, here at the TechSmiths' house, why entertainment pays so well?
You hear a lot about the high cost of gasoline, of food, clothing, mortgages, TAXES... but why do you hear so much less about the price of tickets to shows, admission to sports, or the price of beer and cheese fries at the local pub?
Are we out of line by wishing that people were paid according to their value to our society or country?
The NFL Draft is what is at issue right now. This evening, the first round began. According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, based on last year's salaries for first-round picks, each of the first nine players will be offered contracts higher than the compensation received by the CEO of IBM, Mr. Sam Palmisano. Let's put that in perspective.
None of these young men has played in the NFL before, and based on past history, fully 50% of them are expected to bomb out. Mr. Palmisano is an experienced executive who has served high in corporate ranks for a considerable time. First point is experience and it goes to goes to the Businessman.
Mr. Palmisano is responsible for running IBM. None of these young men is responsible for doing more than playing his own position and there are ten other similarly-talented fellows playing alongside him. Second point, responsibility, also goes to the Businessman.
Mr. Palmisano has to be up on his game all year, although he can take a vacation. These draftees have to display their ability only four months a year, although they are expected to condition in the off-season. Third point is diligence, and Businessman wins it.
IBM's revenues for the first quarter of this year were $23 billion, surely quite a pot of money for Palmisano to be caretaker of! The NFL has annual revenues now reputedly pushing $9 billion. But hey! There are 32 teams, and each of them has dozens of these over-muscled genetic outliers. What part of that $9 billion is Mr. College Hotshot responsible for generating? Fourth point is impact, and Businessman wins by so much you can't see even see Sportsman in the running!
So! WHY does the Sportsman get more than the Businessman??
We have to inform you - YOU are responsible for this miscarriage of social justice. It certainly is not we. Although we are fans, we do not go to games, we don't have an NFL Ticket on our cable service and we don't buy branded merchandise. (OK, it's true we have a Washington Redskins trashcan in the house, but Mark got that as a gift about thirty years ago!) So we calculate our dollar contribution to the business of NFL football to be shy of single digits. And that means YOU are grinding away at your work, complaining about the poor pay, and then throwing way too much of your cash at your entertainments.
We think that a value system that pays NCAA head coaches more than the presidents of the universities where they work is a miscarriage of justice. We would rather have the professors get star pay than the jocks-in-charge. We think the educators are providing value to the community. The sportsmen are providing diversion.
And if enough people thought that way, the world would change. Start today - say "thank you" to a teacher!