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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.