unobserved skill

Enrique Diaz-Alvarez enrique at
Wed Oct 14 20:38:27 PDT 1998

Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
> That lawyers remain the highest paid profession makes a joke out of the
> idea that high income is accounted for by the skill of its recipient
> (unless skill means ability to enter a corrupt profession for the sole
> purpose of making money);

Well, I hate lawyers too, but perhaps we could make less emotional arguments?

> meanwhile companies use H-1 visas to get
> the very best foreign programmers and engineers at basically working class
> wages which should shoot down any hypothesis about the positive relation
> between unobserved skill/cognitive ability/IQ and income.

It might, if the number of H-1 visas granted yearly accounted for more than 0.05% of total employment in the US.

> Why do process engineers make less than design engineers make less than
> lawyers? It's not because each has a higher IQ or more unobserved skill
> than the other. It's simply because each is successively removed from the
> production process and closer to the bourgeoisie which devalues the
> contribution of production and productive labor generally

Ah. It all makes sense now. Marx said so.

> best, rakesh


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