Suppose you were offered a job where the net benefit to society or yourself (other than the pay) was very small. You can pick between either of these two

  1. Digging holes and filling them up again.
  2. Writing “I’m working” over and over on a form and then throwing those forms in the wastebasket.

For the purpose of this exercise, the only benefit to society is an increase in GDP.

What is the minimum wage you would be willing to work for? Alternatively, what other incentives, health insurance, resume building, network, …, would make you work these jobs?

My answer: I would be willing to work either one for about $80/hour which is more than twice of what I have ever earned simply because at that rate I would be earning money really fast and that would be kinda fun. I’m not sure I would last that long though. Could it be true that “raises” rather than absolute income are what keeps many people working?

Respond in the comments.

Originally posted 2009-08-14 12:38:06.