Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

It's hard, hard work, and the people who do it get undercompensated

It seems to me that you're implying that appropriate compensation is proportional to the difficulty of the work.

I assert, instead, that appropriate compensation is proportional to the productivity of the work.

I have never accepted the notion that hard, physical, agricultural labor is a job "someone" must do, any more than cleaning toilets is [1]. I allege that we lack the requisite farm automation to eliminate the hard jobs because there are people willing to do the work so cheaply.

[1] Search for "urinal elephant"




> I assert, instead, that appropriate compensation is proportional to the productivity of the work.

Productivity puts a ceiling on the compensation (If the farm owner is only getting $10/hr of productivity out of the laborers, there's no way they're going to pay more than $10/hr in the long run because they lose money if they do.), but supply and demand in the labor market decides the rate. It'll generally below the value that employers get from the workers (meaning that the employer profits from the arrangement).

Now it's a little more complicated than that because of imperfect information (the farm owners don't know how many people are going to come around looking for work or how little pay they'll take) and imperfect competition (Even if a worker hears that he could make twice as much 500 miles away, he might have to take the job where he is if he has no good way to get to that area with better jobs.), but that's how it works in theory.


I was disappointed that a urinal elephant is not a real elephant. I suppose while an elephant could be trained to clean toilets, you'd still need someone to clean up after the elephant.


I agree with you. What I meant is that for a variety of bad reasons, farm workers sometimes get less than the true market price for their labor.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: