Tuesday, April 6, 2010

second violinist glut explained

There's a theme I take from this. I don't know if you use this term in the book, but I think of it to myself as avoiding fungibility, fungibility being, for a listener who might not know, the economic term for stuff that's as good as other stuff of the same kind. One scoop of this stuff is as good as another scoop. I think of this as avoiding being a scoop of humanity that can be replaced just as easily with another. I believe in the book you use the example of classical musicians, who are all trained well, but one can do the same thing as another and that's why they're paid somewhat low?

Exactly. Here's a good question you might ask yourself: do you deserve to get paid more than the cheapest person I can find to do this? If so, why? What happens if you train to be a classical musician is, you are trained to comply with the conductor and the score. Your job is not to make any mistakes, and for the first ten years you're doing it, that's what you're pushed to do. This leads to a huge surplus of second violinists, a huge surplus in every city in America. You can go on Craigslist and put together an orchestra in two days for a few thousand bucks.

Seth Godin offers a fresh perspective on the economics of classical music at 3 Quarks Daily

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