The Rich Man’s Burden – At first I thought this NYtimes op-ed was going to be like one of those Wall Street Journal op-eds where they decry how the the wealthy continually need to take care of the feckless poor. But, no, it’s even worse. It actually asks us to pity wealthy people (people in the top fifth for income, to be exact) because they work too hard and get stressed out.
A. Maybe working longer hours is the reason they have more income.
B. If you’re in a job that pays more
in the first place, the benefits of working more hours are greater (and
yes, most of these employees are salaried, and not per-hour, but there
are still rewards for working more hours, they’re just diffuse).
C. Maybe the reason they earn so much money is because they’re stressed. Stress is a pretty good motivator. The kind of person who isn’t prone to stress might not work hard enough.
D. High-income people work too hard? Who cares. Pretty easy solution to that. Work less. If you’re making six figures, you can probably find a job where you don’t work as hard and make less money. If you want the money more than you want the leisure and peace of mind, that’s fine, but there’s no reason for a sociologist to go writing about it.
E. The take-away point of the article seems to be that high-income people are surrounded by people who make stratospheric incomes, so they feel poor in comparison. Okay, maybe that’s true. And maybe it’s not their fault. Jealousy is a perfectly normal human trait, and if they didn’t value money to a high degree, they would not be making large amounts of it. But it still seems pretty trivial.