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How many people working in the City call their earnings "wages"? Perhaps some of the cleaning and maintenance staff, but no one else.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:47:11 AM EST
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Okay, "salaries".

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 07:49:13 AM EST
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My point was Colman's use of "wages" which tends to "proletarize" the issue:

Wage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In labor and finance settings, a wage may be defined to include cash paid for some specified quantity (measured in units of time) of labor. Wages may be contrasted with salaries, with wages being paid at a wage rate (based on units of time worked) while salaries are paid periodically without reference to a specified number of hours worked.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:03:32 AM EST
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Well, I object to the use of "proletarians" to describe most Lehman employees, but are we hailing the destruction of the middle class, here?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:05:44 AM EST
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Sorry? The destruction of the middle class because a bank goes bust? They've been destroying the middle class for decades. That's what matters.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:12:18 AM EST
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Yes, that's true.

The point is that it appears because these 5000 people are not proletarians it's okay that they're losing their jobs.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:16:44 AM EST
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Not all jobs are equally valuable. Some are toxic and destructive.

Personally I'll be happy to see more of the latter go, because if they don't, there will be even more poverty and wealth destruction happening elsewhere regardless.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:30:03 AM EST
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Absolutely. Fuck the clerical staff, the IT folks, and all the service jobs that depend on the banks. All just parasites, the world will be better off if they suffer. We could say the same of course of the coal miners, the SUV makers, etc - right?

The big difference between I-banking and most everything else is that the employees get a pretty huge chunk of their value-added. You've got enterprises with relatively low numbers of employees and huge revenues. Add in a highly competitive hiring market and relative ease of starting small new companies in good times and you get big bucks for the workers and a relatively flat salary structure. The only thing that approaches it is the high end legal market. Last I heard, about a year or two ago, going rate for the first salary out of law school was 165K plus bonus. Your typical partner makes about ten times that at most, the top handful of rainmakers maybe forty times. Contrast with the salary structure in most other sectors.

by MarekNYC on Wed Sep 17th, 2008 at 01:42:44 AM EST
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Why "it appears"?

According to Colman's "only meaningful definition", they are working-class or proletarian. I don't mind if one accepts that definition or not. I can see the point in talking about the salaried middle class (considering, with TBG, that the cleaners etc are working for subcontractors, are temps, etc).

But I haven't read anyone here arguing that because people are middle class it's OK they're losing their jobs. I feel no schadenfreude about this, there's nothing joyful in any of it that I can see.

What I disagree with is making this job loss the central point of what's happening. Or, put it this way, it could be discussed in a diary dedicated to it. I feel that what I'm writing about above over-reaches this issue in scope, and over time. What's important, in my view, is the damage done by the financial industry acting as a pump for a new-and-old money plutocracy, since the Thatcher-Reagan years.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 16th, 2008 at 08:33:54 AM EST
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