Monday, July 19, 2010

soapbox - how much is fair? reasonable? honest?

I was listening to the radio this morning to the local morning show hot topic for tomorrow advertisement and the question was asked, why are tickets to sporting events so expensive? Now I really like this morning show so I may actually tune in just to hear the response, but it got me thinking, perspective comes into to play again. Perspective and priorities.

A few weeks ago on a social networking site I posed the question what a reasonable, fair, honest wage for a farmer to earn was, I got a few off the cuff answers but not a dollar amount or salary. I thought about my own question for a while and thought well what it really boils down to is what are you willing to pay someone else to do that you are not willing or able to do yourself. Some people I know have told me point blank that they could not do what I do and others would not, I'm fine with either way, I'm not asking you to. For example I'm not willing to pay someone to pick up my trash weekly when I am perfectly capable of taking it there myself, however, I am more than willing to pay someone to sort through the trash and take care of it however it is done. I've watched 'Dirty Jobs' no thank you, that's not something I'm willing to do.

People complain about the price and quality of food and the price of health care. Health care is expensive, I think we can all agree on that. Cheap food really is an illusion, a price is paid somewhere, most of the price is paid with your health. I'm not the poster child for healthy eating, but I am making better food choices because I'm taking an active role in educating myself about it, I don't plan to or think I'm going to live forever, I just don't want to be sickly either. If you are not willing or able to grow your own food respect the efforts of those who are will and/or able and pay them fairly, reasonably and honestly. There is an old adage that states you get what you pay for, how many times have you heard that and had it not been accurate?

So this leads me back to sporting events well you can fill in the blank with anything in the entertainment area, concerts, sporting events, anything where a 'famous' person might be. I've gone to a few concerts and have enjoyed them immensely, but largely it had to do with the company I was with and the thought that went into the tickets.(Thank you Ron for the Toby tickets!) But the question was why are they so expensive, my opinion is because we allow them to be, because we as a society place so much 'value' on 'athleticism and talent' (I use the word talent here loosely!!) but I'm not sure why. Wasn't there an athlete just offered like 10 million dollars or something ridiculous like that? Seriously 10 million dollars? Who needs that kind of money? Wouldn't it be a better idea to pay teachers more? After all they are in large part shaping tomorrow through the kids in their classrooms. They have a huge part in equipping children to become what they were created to be, what happens if they fail? Where will that put those kids in relation to other kids whose teachers didn't fail? I'm in favor of paying teachers who teach well more, they are worth more, I have a very high respect for teachers, it's not an easy job, and it comes with a huge responsibility.

I also have a very high respect for volunteer fire fighters. Think about each word for a minute.

Volunteer. Fire. Fighters.

I cannot imagine what these men and women must be made of. I cannot imagine volunteering to risk my life to go into someone else's burning home. I hope I never have to go into my own but would risk it if my kids were in there, no question. But seriously what is that worth to you? I'm in favor of paying firefighters to do what I am not. I am not willing to pay high prices for a ticket to a sporting event because it goes against what I value, against my perspective and priorities. I am willing to take that same money and so to a farmers market, a local business, a lemonade stand, or a fireman's breakfast fundraiser. To me each one of those is fair, honest and reasonable.


  1. Hey, listen. It's SUMMER. You've GOT to stop making me THINK so much!!! :) I'm STILL turning around and around the thoughts your post on chicken ingredients stirred the other day. My head's gonna explode if you don't stop making me THINK!
    GREAT post (and not just because I'm a teacher.Although I certainly don't feel overpaid, and there are a lot of injustices in the salary field that make me cry!, I also don't feel UNDERpaid as a teacher, either. But that's just me...) I DO think that our sports and music and Hollywood figures are all wayyyyyyyyyyyyy overpaid, though. Ten million dollars? What does that even MEAN to us? I can't fathom it. I just want enough to pay my bills on time.

  2. Very well said! Our priorities as a society are a little out of whack ( in my opinion ). How many people could that 10 million dollar a year salary feed / house / get off the streets? It doesn't seem like we are investing back in ourselves or futures as a country any longer. I just hope the examples we give our own children can in time help change this trend for future generations.

  3. We've been having a similar discussion about why farmers and the act of farming are undervalued. Farming is still considered 'blue collar' and wrongly assumed to be a semi-skilled profession. My farming neighbors want their children to go to agricultural college and "better" themselves by becoming farm managers. They want their kids to work behind a desk and to earn more money. And gain more respect in a "white collar" management job.

    Working farmers have a shocking amount of know-how about very complex things: soil science, breeding and genetics, machinery. But it's not recognised by anyone but other farmers who understand how much work and how much knowledge goes into running a farm well.

    Unless you have tried to produce your own food, I don't think you can grasp the fragility of the food production system. Everyone needs to eat. Crops can fail, farmers can be bankrupted by poor prices for their produce.

    Farming will never achieve its true worth until consumers suffer serious shortages or are forced to pay what produce is worth. If you and your kids are going hungry, I bet you'd rather have a roast chicken than a courtside seat then.


So what's the view from your world about that? I'd enjoy hearing it.