[ExI] Life @ Playstation

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Nov 6 23:26:08 UTC 2012

On 5 November 2012 12:18, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

>  On 04/11/2012 20:05, Stefano Vaj wrote:
> In principle, this is a simple Paretian (or Darwinian?) issue. In a
> society where the best thief is king, those who are best mostly choose to
> be thieves. Why shouldn't they?
> Motivations are complex. People seek out roles not just based on their
> expected reward, but whether they fit with self image and a long list of
> criteria (often surprisingly badly researched even in smart people - how
> many people spend the same effort weighing future careers as selecting a
> house?).
> Looking at this diagram of IQ ranges in occupations
> http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/occupations.aspx
> it is clear that there is a prepoderance of higher status occupations in
> the smarter end. But not all of them are well paid - college professors are
> on par with legal occupations, but the latter pay far better. Same thing
> with highschool teachers and finance/accounting, and so on. Also worth
> noting is that intelligent people can be found in nearly all occupations:
> there are fewer in the low-status ones, but still some.

No, people do seek roles based on their respective rewards, simply, even
today and in western societies, not *all* rewards and hierarchies are
monetary in nature.

Most presidents of the United States were clever enough, albeit not always
very clever, to make more money in the private sector, and still they chose
to run.

Being a college professor may involve more fun, a higher intellectual
satisfaction, less risks, more perks, a nicer environment and above all a
higher social status than being a divorce lawyer, let alone a drug pusher,
even though the pay is significantly lower.  And similar reasons exist why
the divorce lawyer might still consider a career progression, at least in
the UK, to become a High Court judge at a point in time.

I am also inclined to think that healthy and vibrant societies accomodate
by definition a large diversity of social roles, models and ideals, and a
pluralistic view of "success".

My concern is in fact that in *our* societies, in spite of the limited
surviving of the qualifications above, monetary wealth is becoming
increasingly universal as the sole cause, measure and effect of social
success; and that in turn such wealth is distributed on the basis on
increasingly reduced and dysfunctional criteria.

This is of course reflected by the fact that the ratio between the
respective pay, and above all the respective perceived "importance", of a
brilliant researcher, a famous politician and a successful banker have
steadily changed along the decades in a direction well known to all of us.

Stefano Vaj
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