Dogma Premise # 36

Professionals who have trained for their jobs deserve higher compensation to make up for their years lost/invested in training.

Just as entrepreneurs are awarded a particularly large claim on the spoils of capitalism (See Dogma Premise 35), in exchange for their special service to capitalists, so, too, to are the various professionals awarded a disproportionately large share for managing most of the details of capitalism's daily workings.

The "coordinator class," thoroughly described in Michael Albert's book Parecon, maybe described as the people who do own much capital, but who run the capitalists enterprises. The coordinator class is necessary because the there aren't enough capitalists to actively manage all of the many enterprises that they own, but they can't let the workers run the enterprises, so they hire people to help them, and those are the coordinators. They may be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and executives. They tend to be knowledgable, confident, and educated, and they control the work of others.

For this the coordinators are given an extra share of whatever wealth capitalism generates for its masters. The presence of the coordinator class makes every kind of practical sense for capitalists. And offering extra remuneration to the coordinators to keep them loyal makes good sense, too, because the coordinators are the ones who ensure that the enterprise is completely focused on owner profits. Keeping coordinators loyal is important, too, because coordinators have their hands on the levers of power and can do a fair amount of damage to the capitalist enterprise if they go astray.

Apparently it would cause problems to tell coordinators and workers that the coordinators got bigger piece of the economic pie because they needed a loyal guard that would whip the workers and not themselves revolt in any significant way. Instead, a convention developed that coordinators required layers of special training, and that their superior compensation was justified by the training that in turn was required for them to become eligible to receive superior compensation.

If that sounds a little circular, it's at least not as absurd as the more standard excuse, that professionals are paid extra to compensate them for the additional years of work/training/schooling that they endured in order to become professionals. There is no doubt that lawyers spend three extra years in school compared to those with Bachelors degree. Only two extra years for an MBA, but 4+ for physicians. What is ridiculous is to characterize these years of work as "extra" years of work compared to non-professionals. If one college graduate takes an entry level in a firm, and another is admitted to law school, they will both work very hard for the next three years. So whatever justifies the professional's increased compensation, it can't be a greater amount of work.

Instead, it is not the fact of the professionals'  work that matters, but the nature of that works, plus the professionals' willingness to endure a lengthy vetting process (professional school application, professional education, and professional certification) before beginning that work. This lengthy vetting process actually has two purposes: first, it allows for the weeding out of those less likely to serve the capitalist class well, and it allows for the indoctrination of the future professionals to the norms of the coordinator class, which may include a sense of entitlement and accustomization to the existing economic order, was well as exposure to the formalities that allow loyal coordinators and capitalists to interact reliably (e.g., how to play golf, how to enjoy wine, how to dress for success).

That capitalists of delegated the active management of their assets to coordinators cannot be doubted. That coordinators earn a premium for managing those assets loyally cannot be doubted. That the coordinators on average do not work harder or longer than other types of laborers cannot be doubted -- if anything, the living conditions in professional schools are considered superior to a "real job" for most students.

The coordinators may be on average a bit more intelligent than the average citizen, and more capable of solving complex problems. But this is not the cause of their pay differential, because there are plenty of smart workers and dim coordinators, and their pay grades are never swapped because of it. Also, the children of coordinators are disproportionately represented in the coordinator class, even when they are not peculiarly smart or talented, which is more evidence that the selection process is not primarily about skills as well as a willingness to serve the interests of capitalists.

So in the end it is clear that professionals GET higher compensation, but the reason for that is not superior training, effort, or skills, but simply because their role in the various enterprises of capitalism make their obedience to the overall program particularly important, and they are both selected and paid for that obedience.

Professionals therefore do not "deserve" greater compensation as a result of working harder or doing more. Instead, someone has to run the exploitation machine, and if you didn't treat those people better than the people they were exploiting, they would not run the machine reliably. That is the real reason that professionals get higher compensation than other workers.

 

 

Dogma Premise 37

All Dogma Premises