When it comes to salary, people most likely perceive themselves more inferior than those who acquire higher and you might be one of them. This is so for, arguably, according to 2008 studies, the ideas between money and social values are processed in the same part of our brain.
That said, the idea to disaffiliate salary and identity appears to be difficult, if not intricate in a negative manner. Thus, if, by any chance, the idea intertwines more deeply, you will more likely feel special and more valuable if you acquire higher salary than your colleagues.
Following that logic, a new question pops up in response to the statement. How can you find peace if there always emerges more and more people with higher wages? Will you, according to the preceding hypothetical situation, fully dedicate your life to pursue more money to make yourself feel better about your existence?
In answering the question, let’s examine what salary, or money to be precise, is. In its, if not most, literal sense, money is just a piece of paper, printed with numbers and pictures. Acting as a currency, it eases our way to obtain, do, or achieve something. In other words, money gives us options.
However, what if we to eradicate its practical feature as an option-enabler? Without its practical feature, it drastically holds no value as if it were nothing. Ergo, why would you let yourself, people who acquire traits and attributes, to simply be defined by money, a paper who is given attributes?
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Why Money, or Salary, Becomes a Standard to Define People
Many people think that incomes have, indirectly, become a self-measure. To illustrate the matter, higher salary indicates a more superior social status, level of intelligence, etc.
To contest the illustration, is that really the case? For example, the owner of a drugstore might not be more intelligent, in terms of medical knowledge, to a doctor who works at his/her drugstore. Thus, what should be the ‘better’ indicator to prove the point that salary does make people more superior?
If we think through a logical way, and if we refer to the past, we might argue that bigger salary comes from bigger contribution to others. Ideally, that is the world we, or the majority, might want to live in such as where doctors get bigger salary than janitors due to bigger social contributions.
Again, that logic will not appropriately apply to some cases. For instance, bank directors, who work to enrich their very own corporations, receive bigger salary than teachers, who dedicate themselves to educate people. In that manner, why would bank directors get bigger salary than teachers if not due to social contributions?
The answer is, despite how noble or amoral the reason is, due to the law of supply and demand. In its very sense, everything comes back to how much the market is willing to pay.
The Law of Supply and Demand in Defining Us
In accordance to supply and demand, lower salary, subsequently, is due to the available number of people who can administer the job. The more the people who can execute the tasks, the lower the salary becomes. And vice versa.
However, does being able to administer jobs that few can make you more superior or valuable? In the context of economy, the answer is correct since the supply is low.
However, in the context of social contribution, it is most likely incorrect. Every occupation, accordingly, holds contribution in its respective corridor. Although capable bank directors are ‘rarer’ to find, that does not mean they can replace the role of Physics teachers who are more common.
Thus, in conclusion, though the salary is higher, that does not validate higher identity, social status, or whatsoever.