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Wages and Gender

The headline reads: “Why Are Women Still Choosing the Lowest-Paying Jobs?” But that is really just framing the questions wrong. Maybe we should instead be asking how it is that those jobs that women have historically gravitated towards somehow ended up becoming fields that are relatively underpaid.

The question of what any given job “should” make is a very interesting one, both on the low end and on the high end. What “should” investment banking make? The answer to that question evolves over time (especially with investment banking). The point I¬†would make is that any answer is really just the product of social/cultural values. There is no “real” answer in any truly objective sense. Now there is an ideology of market capitalism that likes to pretend that there is an “invisible hand” that is as objective as the laws of gravity that set’s wages and profits where they “should” be. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that the ideology of free-market capitalism is about as objective as the “mandate of heaven”; more often than not it is just a post hoc rationalization of a power grab. (If the “mandate of heaven” is not a familiar concept, it may be worth googling.)

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