demand resourcescan you explain why Jennifer Aniston earns $30 million year and a school teacher $40,000 a year?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Jennifer is in high demand because she is who she is, and no one else can also be her. There are many more people who can be teachers, because a teacher does not have to be one person. Teachers may supposedly be more valuable, but there are more of them.
justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The answer to this question is the same as that of "Why are diamonds costlier than water," when the latter is a necessity and cannot be lived without while the former especially in the form of ornaments does not serve any useful purpose.

With each extra liter of water available to those buying it, the value of the water decreases.

Coming to your example, if there were only one teacher and an hundred thousand Jennifer Aniston look-alikes, you can bet none of them would be earning more than a few thousand dollars while the teacher would be making millions if not billions.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

As earlier posters have suggested, supply and demand are the major factors, as are the values of the majority of the population. We live in a culture in which entertainment is highly valued.  Entertainers have long been valued highly, but it would be very interesting to know how much of the disposable income of Americans is spent today on entertainment as opposed to in the past.  My guess -- although it is merely a guess -- is that we spend a far greater percentage of our disposable income on entertainment today than was true even a few decades ago.

Here's a government report that may be of interest:

http://www.bls.gov/cex/anthology/csxanth10.pdf

 

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It is true that we pour billions into entertainment, but we do the same for education. Student loan debt recently passed credit card debt in this country. I think the issue is partly about what we value, but also because we have created a system that does not reward successful educators in the same way that we reward successful entertainers. I don't claim to be able to posit any kind of alternative, but that's where we're at, it seems to me.

bigdreams1's profile pic

bigdreams1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Well said, Reader.

Indeed, it is what we value most in our lives and society that we spend most of our time and money on.

A simple look around at who makes the most in American Society will tell you what we value.

Athletes and Entertainers make the most, because we value entertainment the most. Then would come doctors and businessmen and women, some politicians...and so on down the ladder.

 

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What a great question. I often think about this. As post two states, it is about supply and demand. However, if we look at it from a sociological point of view, we are to blame in a sense. Society creates supply and demand and accords value to certain occupations. It just shows our value system. Entertainment is more important than education.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There's another reason as well:  teachers do not generate revenue, or at least, not directly, while Jennifer Aniston generates millions of dollars in ticket sales.  Add to that the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers to pay and only one Jennifer.  I refuse to believe that Miss Aniston is more impotant to America than teachers are, lovely as she is, but perhaps we should start selling tickets to class?

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Jennifer Aniston is a famous celebrity while a teacher is not. There is only one of her. The popularity and fame she has allows her to ask a higher price for her acting services. Since there is only one Jennifer Aniston, she will likely get that higher price. There are many, many school teachers. Some are better than others and some are payed more than others. For instance, teachers in my area make about 30,000 rather than 40,000. Since there are so many teachers, it is difficult to ask for higher pay because there isn't as much incentive to keep those already in the teaching field. That's not to say there is no incentive, but there is certainly less. You also have to consider that Jennifer Aniston is payed by the private sector while teachers are payed through the government and tax systems. If people demand more movies with Jennifer Aniston, they will likely contribute to the funds of the private sector that pays her. The tax system and the government isn't as susceptible to supply and demand.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Supply and demand.  What she does is, apparently, something only a very few people in the world can do.  Therefore, people will pay a lot to obtain her services.  Being a school teacher is something that more or less anyone can do.  True, some will do it better and some worse, but the ability to teach is apparently less rare than the ability to act.  Therefore, there is a greater supply of teachers and teachers make much less money.

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