It's very common to hear something like the following: "How can someone like Adam Sandler make $20 million per movie, while a teacher makes a pittance?" This is usually followed by a declaration on how everyone's priorities are messed up, and how (somehow) Capitalism is to blame?
Today, I read a comment on another website complaining how Olympians are praised and put on a pedestal, while again someone like a teacher is not.
What is the problem here? And is Capitalism to blame?
In finding the answer, I think only one question needs to be asked: "Do teachers earn a market wage?" The answer is obviously "No.".....so right away Capitalism is not to blame, since a free market for teachers does not exist. How can Capitalism be blamed when teachers do not earn what the market is willing to pay them.
Let's imagine a scenario where exceptional teachers can earn a market wage:
Mr. Smith teaches an Austrian Economics class...He is a master at his subject, and has an uncanny ability at keeping the attention of his students....He's funny, charismatic, and an all-around superstar teacher. Unlike in years past, Mr. Smith is not confined to 50-100 students sitting in one classroom; for these classes are taught exclusively over the Internet.
As it so happens, Mr. Smith has 20,000 students taking his class each semester...and the number keeps rising. His ultimate goal is to have 100,000 students at one time.....Like YouTube, he's hoping to go viral.
But Mr. Smith is quite happy with his progress so far. Because of his superior skill in presenting Austrian Economics, and because of worldwide demand for understanding it, Mr. Smith earns several million dollars per year. He recently purchased an estate across the street from Adam Sandler.
I have no doubt that someday, stories similar to the one above will become reality. And just imagine what it will do for the teaching profession. The desire to become a teacher would most likely skyrocket! Creativeness and attention to the demands of consumers (i.e., parents and students) will be top priority. Teaching will be a competitive business like any other....and if the teaching market is truly free, we can expect the quality of schooling to rise, while the price falls.
Capitalism is not holding teachers back....If the desire really is to see teachers earn the salary of a movie star, then letting teachers earn a market wage is top priority.
Aug 17 2008, 12:54 PM