In terms of human labor invested, how do sports superstars and Hollywood actors differ from everyday people like teachers, policemen, physicians and soldiers, that the former earn much more money the latter? This seems to be a social problem because while those who are not very famous spend enormous amounts of time and energy in performing their duties, our sports heroes and famous actors and actresses on the other hand get paid exponentially more even with the same amount of time and energy invested. This inequality opens the possibility of questioning the morality of athletes and actors earning much more, especially since there are many ordinary employees who have long been yearning for a raise on salaries, even just a few hundred dollars. In this regard, it is wrong to pay athletes and actors much more than their non-famous counterparts because it reflects a society that cherishes its fantasies more than the ordinary people that make up the majority of the population.
A respected economist, Sherwin Rosen, explains the reason for the inequality or gap in salaries between superstars and ordinary people when he argues that there are certain professions where “there is concentration of output among a fewmarked skewness in the associated distributions of income and very large rewards at the top” (Rosen 845). What this simply means is that since the superstars’ talents are extraordinary, this makes them deserving of the huge salaries they receive. This may be understandable to a certain degree, but after learning of the salaries of some famous athletes such as the New York Yankees whose average salaries is $8,031,000, and Los Angeles Dodgers with players earning about $150,000 a week (“Can Sports Superstars” 1), then surely something is amiss. After all, the existence of this nation is surely not dependent on the shoulders of these athletes, unlike the soldiers, policemen, and administrative staffs of legislative bodies.
It also must be noted that actors and actresses likewise receive unbelievable salaries for the fictional roles they portray. An example of this is Jennifer Lawrence, who “reportedly paid just $1 million for her rolein the original Hunger Games movie$10 million for the sequel, and $15 million for the two-part finale” (Dunn 1). This figure becomes even more interesting when considering the statement made the famous Hollywood actress, Charlize Theron, in defending Lawrence: “If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated the same way” (Dunn 1). Here, it is obvious that there is a misappropriation of salaries among the sectors of the society, given that the ordinary citizens can only dream of such huge salaries even if they work just as hard, and perhaps even exponentially harder, than our superstar celebrities.
It is indeed correct and moral to get salaries in exchange for services rendered, but having huge salaries in millions of U.S dollars when there are countless others who only receive a meager for the same amount of invested labor is very unethical. Maybe a good explanation of this situation is that our society worships these sports and entertainment celebrities too much that it shows what kind of people we value more. As such, it is clear that the society holds more importance on seeing its fantasies come to life, even for a moment, than those who regularly exert blood and sweat in performing the duties required in their jobs.
“Can Sports Superstars Justify Super Salaries?” Aljazeera.com., 16 April 2014. Web. 7 July 2015.
Dunn, James. “Hunger Games Star Jennifer Lawrence Wins Hollywood Gender Pay Gap Battle to be Paid Double Her Leading Man’s Wage in New Film.” Dailymail.co.uk., 10 May 2015. Web. 7 July 2015.
Rosen, Sherwin. “The Economics of Superstars.” The American Economic Review 71.5 (1981): 845-858. Print.