A Shocking Review of Monetary Distribution Today

income-inequality-resized

I promise this article will leave you all in wonder, asking yourself if indeed you live in a completely insane society.

We all know money is some paper that does not reflect the resources on this planet; it’s something people invent along with the rules and the way they are distributed.

Before you start reading this article, click this link, and leave it open in your browser. You will check it later, I promise it will be interesting.

How fairly is money distributed in this world? How fair is it for people? Do jobs or work hours reflect the earnings?

First of all, how can we decide if one job is more important than another? Well, we can use society as a whole and perhaps determine that the “needs” are most important for people: health, better transportation, better communication, etc. So, that being said, perhaps people dealing with those should be paid the most within a saner society. But is this the case?

Surgeons

Surgeons

The average paid surgeons in the US earns about $230,000/year, which is a lot. They may save some lives, even improve the medical fields, so perhaps they are worth that much money. Do not forget though, that this is the average salary, so there are plenty of other surgeons with lower incomes and indeed some with higher ones.

Well, the yearly income for a surgeon is as much as Tom Cruise acquires in a DAY. He may save some lives too it’s true, but only in a film studio, pretending to do so, once or twice a year. He gets around $65,000,000 a year for mimicking human reactions for different scenarios. People call this job “acting”. Basically it’s something that you do in real life, reacting to different scenarios. But Tom Cruise is paid for faking those moments. I am sure you faked them many times when you lied or wanted to impress someone, but you are not getting paid, are you?

Speaking of movies, have you seen Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End? You know, the third part of Pirates of the Caribbean, that movie about some pirates, and some others who look like
pirates but are different creatures. Squids with hats perhaps?

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

That movie is the most expensive movie ever made, 300 million dollars. Followed by Spiderman with 258 million dollars, or Avatar 237 million dollars. (source) Huge amounts of money for an hour or two of… nothing basically. Imaginary and very unoriginal stories.

Now, the most expensive documentary ever made is Planet Earth by BBC with a budget of 23 million dollars. Five years in the making, 71 camera operators filmed in 204 locations in 62 countries on all seven continents, spending more than 2000 days in the field. Eleven hours of Full HD material, more than double than all the 3 movies mentioned above combined, yet with a budget that is 10 times lower than the cheapest of the three, Avatar.

Not to mention how relevant that documentary is, capturing amazing creatures and places on planet Earth, some never before seen.

Let ́s compare two other different “species”. A physicist and a football (soccer) player.

Dr. Michio Kaku

Dr. Michio Kaku

The physicist can, and mostly will, bring a huge value to the society as a whole. From construction, to transportation or any scientific research, this job brings an advantage all the time, both in solving problems or improving technology or knowledge.

So a physicist makes about $112,000 a year, if he or she gets a very well-paid job. Which, comparatively speaking, is quite a lot of money.

But how much does Cristiano Ronaldo make? “Who is he?”- you may ask. Well his legs are very unique, he can juggle with a normal size ball pretty well. He is in a team of 10 other people who go onto a field to play a game called football (soccer, in the US). Two teams, in total of 22 people who are chasing a ball for 90 minutes to score it in a netted “gate”. Additionally, 80,000 people or more pay to sit in a stadium, making a lot of appreciative noise while watching them play.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ok now, how much a year does this creature with trained legs make? Well…a salary of about $22,000,000 a year, and another $22,000,000 a year from advertising endorsements. So a total of 44 million dollars a year. WOW, I wonder if he had 4 legs how much he would have been paid.

So, we compared four professions, two of which are relevant and directly connected to human needs, and two of which are entertainment jobs, ones who makes you laugh, excited, scared, or trigger some feelings in you occasionally.

We said that the average surgeons in US achieves about $230,000 a year compared to one of the best-paid actor who makes around $65,000,000 yearly, and average physicist salary with $112,000 with a football player with $22,000,000, both yearly.

The differences between these salaries are so huge, it is very hard to imagine. I understand traveling to Mars is a journey of several months, but it’s so hard to imagine a trip to Betelgeuse, 640 light years away, although I see them both in the sky each night.

Let ́s look at other spendings, this time at a larger scale. The entire US budget for science (National Science Foundation – NSF) is 7 billion dollars a year, which is just half of what it costs Brazil to host the 2014 world cup (14 billion dollars) So compare a month of football (14 billion dollars) with a year of scientific research (7 billion dollars).

The examples are plenty, but the point is the same: people spend money in this world, consuming a significant amount of energy, resources and human labor, for things that have less or no relevance to human needs. Basically this world emphasizes entertainment more than people ́s needs. And it isn’t that we do not have needs or that the $7 billion on science in the US is enough, not at all.

Think of how many houses Brazil could build from the 14 billion dollars spent on one month of football. Or they could invest that in renewable energy or health care. Or if instead of paying one football player you could pay, from the same salary, 150 scientists more. Or instead of making a movie with a 300-million-dollar budget, you could make 13 documentaries as relevant as Planet Earth depicting the amazing and complex world we live in, emphasizing education.

In this world you can make money by just putting money in the bank or by having sex, but contrary to that you can struggle to survive even if you have a school diploma in science.

It is dangerous and frightening because more money equals more power, and since very uninformed people make “easy money” they can have power and influence, or even direct the lives of millions. They can and do have laws created for their own advantage. It is not always people with knowledge or those who can make more appropriate decisions who have the ability to do so. All too often the ones who have accumulated the most wealth have more authority to enact laws and make decisions concerning your life, but the decisions are almost always made for the benefit of those who are in positions of authority because of their wealth, and unfortunately the rest of the population is not their concern.

Homeless mother and child

Homeless mother and child

It’s sad, because billions are starving while few have more money than the rest of the world combined. It is unsustainable: because we live on a finite planet, spaceship Earth.

My father works 10 hours a day for 5 Euros an hour, 6-7 days a week. His life is basically work and sleep. He makes around 1200 Euros a month in the best case scenario, which is a good salary if you think about, but maybe you don’t realize what it is like to work 10 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. And he does everything, from electrical engineering to repairing homes or cleaning them. So it is physical work. Try to compare this kind of life for 1200 Euros a month with a salary that an actor has…ridiculous.

It is true, my father doesn’t have the Tom Cruise look, but still I am sure he can cry or laugh at command if you give him 1% of Tom Cruise ́s salary.

That example is one of billions around the world, and it’s not the worst of all. There are people who survive with $30 a month, or less.
Remember that link I provided at the beginning of the article? If you didn’t opened it when I first presented it, visit it now. From that moment till now, the time you spent reading the article, Tom Cruise made about 4,000 dollars, or as much as my father makes in 3 months.

I don ́t say we shouldn’t have entertainment, although I would say it should be more informative. I am just emphasizing that people focus much more on it than on people ́s needs, and this is utterly insane in a world where people die of starvation each day, or in a world where billions are enslaved by jobs, having a robotic and non-sensical life.

You may also like: Understanding Us: From Values to Color Perception [videos]

This article was originally released in TVP Magazine Issue 3 and can be accessed by this link.

A special thanks to that team for sharing their amazing work. They have currently released 9 issues and are looking for support to keep the program active. You can learn more here.

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