Why is it that many hard-working factory workers, plumbers and waitresses never earn as much as some CEOs, best-selling novelists or A-list actors? Isn’t that unfair?
Yesterday, City A.M., London’s free business newspaper, published an op-ed by Don Watkins and Yaron Brook, in which they explain why effort is ultimately irrelevant: “The answer is that, in a free market, people don’t get paid for the effort they exert but for the value that they create.”
Think about author JK Rowling, who became a billionaire from her wildly popular Harry Potter series. Rowling certainly worked hard — but so do thousands of other authors who struggle to find an audience. The difference is that millions of people value Rowling’s work. They were willing to turn over £10 or £15 for each Harry Potter novel, because the pleasure they got from those books exceeded the price tag.
It was irrelevant to them whether Rowling suffered writer’s block and spent sleepless nights agonizing at her desk, or whether she effortlessly poured out a hundred pages a day of perfect prose. It was the value that mattered.
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