What are you worth?
Impossible isn’t it.
What is your time worth? Is that easier to judge?
Does it vary depending on what you are doing?
You may be paid the same as your co-workers but have different skills / knowledge…
Now compare that to other countries. Are you worth more or less than a human living there?
As an artist, teacher and performer, I charge different rates depending on the circumstance.
Sometimes (as is the case with teaching) I charge an hourly rate as recommended by the Musicians Union. As a performer, the rate I charge is affected by the number of paying audience, the budget of whoever is hiring me and again an hourly rate.
As Pete Townshend pointed out in his recent John Peel Lecture, everyone entitled to work in the U.K. as an employee is entitled to a wage based on their work by the hour including actors and musicians. This is not the case with creative work which is essentially self-employed.
As an artist, the work I do is done mostly for the love of the thing itself and is it’s own reward. Now that anything visible or audible can be instantly digitized, stored, reproduced and globally distributed – then made accessible free of charge to anyone with internet access, it is increasingly hard to be paid enough to make a living from selling your creativity.
We could argue ethics and morality all day long – and I am grateful for anyone who values my work enough to pay for it – but the bottom line is that people will do what they can get away with and just as many of us used tape recorders to tape radio and TV programs, so now do we stream or download on demand.
Is this a bad thing?
It is still possible that a songwriter could do an afternoon’s work and if the material is catchy enough, they need never work again.
Is that right?
Our current financial system rewards one person with poverty and one with luxury for performing the same task. One need only compare the wages of Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Cleaners, Chefs, Mothers and Fathers with Bankers, Financiers, Stockholders and Footballers salaries to know that the problems we are experiencing point to the need for a radical rethink of one word: value.
What do we value? How do we value? What is life sustaining? Life affirming? NEEDful?
Let us put first things first in our own values, then perhaps we shall find as it says in the Bible that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.