I had a thought-provoking dream last night. In it, I was living in Fantasia - a place where people are paid according to their real value to society. There are some striking mismatches with what happens in other countries.
In Fantasia, doctors are paid for keeping people alive. A doctor is well rewarded as long as his or her patients stay healthy. But when a patient falls ill, the doctor's pay is reduced by half; and if a patient dies, the doctor has to pay massive compensation to the surviving spouse or relatives. Average life expectancy in Fantasia is 132, although doctors tend to die young.
Soldiers are paid on the same lines as doctors. In peacetime they get a reasonable wage, but as soon as war breaks out the government stops paying them. Officers earn far less than ordinary soldiers, and generals get least of all. This is because of the Fantasian principle that power is its own reward; people can have either money or power, but Fantasians avoid giving them both. Members of the House of Long Sentences (the Fantasian Parliament) get expenses payments, but no salary; the Prime Minister gets the least generous expenses.
Teachers' pay is worked out according to their teaching ability (pupils vote), their pupils' test results and the level at which they teach. On average, primary school teachers get double the pay of secondary school teachers, who in turn are wealthy by comparison with university teachers.
Housewives or househusbands receive a basic salary from the state, plus an extra 16,500 Fantasian Grotniks (about $4,500 US) annually for each small child in the family.
People who do dirty, strenuous, dull or distasteful work (e.g. rubbish collectors, coal miners, factory workers or sewage workers) are at the top of the Fantasian wages scale. Other highly-paid workers include gardeners (Fantasians like looking at flowers), hospital nurses and librarians. Among the poorest-paid workers are advertising agents, TV weather forecasters, traffic wardens and bank managers. Pop singers, who are all employed by the state, are paid starvation wages and allowed to give one concert a year (Fantasians don't like listening to loud noises).
The best-paid people in Fantasia are writers.
Guess what I do for a living.
16. What is the basic principle of payment in Fantasia?
17. How are doctors / soldiers / officers / MPs / teachers / housewives / househusbands / others paid in Fantasia? Draw the parallels with Ukraine. What do you consider fair?
18. Give the Ukrainian equivalents to the words and word combinations: to pay, value to society, to reward, to reduce, to pay compensation, a wage, to get a reasonable wage, to earn, to get expenses payments, salary, to get the pay, to receive a basic salary, at the top of the wages scale, highly-paid workers, the poorest-paid workers, the best-paid workers, employed by the state, starvation wages.
19. Work with two or three other students. Discuss which of the following should be paid most, which should be next best paid, and so on. You must produce an agreed group answer, listing the jobs in order of pay:army general, rubbish collector, government minister, head of large factory, hospital nurse, policeman / policewoman, primary school teacher.