all members of society in accordance with their need will eliminate the star system. It may be true that some will receive vastly more than others (for example, those with serious physical disabilities), but there wouldn’t be any outsized accumulation of wealth; there wouldn’t be any Bill Gates out there with $50 billion in the checking account. Conclusion. The star system in American business life is not necessary; other systems of wealth distribution are possible and justifiable. However, the star system does fit together well with the proportioning of wealth through open market forces. What Counts as Compensation? The president of the United States receives “only” $400,000 annually. Then again, he also gets a brass band striking up a tune in his honor every time he goes out the front door. Michael Bloomberg spent 108 million of his own dollars to be elected mayor of New York City in 2010. Since the j ob’s salary is $225,000, he’d need to work 480 years just to break even. On the other hand, with a police escort he has a lot less trouble with the cross-town traffic frustrating so many New Yorkers, no matter how wealthy they may be. On Wall Street, quants are quantitative analysts: people who use mathematical algorithms (among other tools) to buy and sell stock. Their compensation can reach astronomical heights, which explains why some people who have the talent to be math professors at universities give up campus life for the world of finance. Others, however, decide against finance and in favor of the campus and a paycheck that struggles to reach six figures. In 1993, basketball superstar Michael Jordan left the game and signed up to play minor league baseball with the Birmingham Barons. Not everyone, reality teaches, wants to be a star, at least not in purely financial terms. It’s also true, however, that most people who could be financial stars forgo that possibility only because they get what they perceive to be a better offer. The better offer may not appear so wonderful to many — it takes a certain kind of person to choose minor league baseball over the NBA, or campus life instead of glittering Wall Street — but the decision nonetheless makes sense for the deciders (and to enough outside observers for the choice to avoid being labeled insane). The point is that compensation, what you want to get back for doing your job, comes in many flavors, and it’s hard to put a universal price tag on them.
Saylor URL: Saylor.org 690 Many would thoroughly enjoy the perks of being president, but probably few see why living a life of the mind at a remote university is preferable to being rich in New York City. Regardless, one of the difficulties in gauging and fully delineating the star system as it exists in professional life is accounting for the kinds of benefits that don’t appear on paychecks.
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