It Is The Market Economy That Truly Honors Diversity

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Posted: Feb 18, 2019 11:07 AM
It Is The Market Economy That Truly Honors Diversity

When my second son was born, my wife and I decided that we were going to treat him the same as we did our first son. Our second son let us know that it doesn’t work that way. Right from infancy, he was a different person, with different physical and emotional needs, interests, and reactions to the things we did. It quickly became obvious that the cookie-cutter approach was not going to fly. He had his own personality, and as he got older, those differences amplified. Now, as adults, in spite of geographical separation, all of our offspring are good friends. Though each pursued his or her own career and lifestyle, they respect and enjoy and cooperate with each other. The differences didn’t make barriers, they gave alternate perspectives.

I think that can be generalized for society as a whole. I have developed a deep interest in personality types and related psychology, and it is incredibly fascinating to me how knowing personality type makes the things people do much more understandable. It strongly affects interests, preferences, and personal style. With all of the billions of people living today, no two are alike. They all have their own set of biological markers, experiences, and related assumptions, yet all of them fall into a limited number of general categories or types, which holds cross-culturally. While they are not set in stone, and people can improve their own personalities (or make them worse), their general functional proclivities and preferences tend to be pretty stable.

This has implications for the types of work people prefer or at which they excel, for the places they want to live, and for so many other life choices. Inherent capabilities limit employment options, but personality type affects what is interesting, what is fulfilling, and what fits particular temperaments. 

The division of labor is one of the key factors that make modern, developed society productive and prosperous. People use their skills and interests to create something of value, which is traded to other people, who have used their own skills and interests to create some other type of value. The various employments demand alternative skill sets, with some people being most productive when their work allows them to be left alone, to be creative, or to focus intensely, while others need lots of personal interaction and are most productive when they can use those natural inclinations.

The type of work that someone does, in general, has a large impact on income. Entrepreneurs have the potential to become very wealthy, but they have even more potential to go bankrupt. It takes a special personality to take the risk, but that risk also generally carries with it an income premium. That is good, because without the potential for gain, few would attempt a new business, and the economy would suffer as a result.

Those jobs for which the supply of potential workers is limited, such as aeronautical engineer, tend to pay more than those for which the supply is plentiful, as with floor sweepers or burger-flippers. Low skilled jobs are those for which there is the highest amount of competition. The easier a task is to perform, the more people who are able to do it, and the less the pay for that task tends to be, no matter how necessary it is. That has nothing to do with justice or dignity or rightness. It is simply a fact of economic reality.

Every society is made of different personalities, and because of that, work of all of the disparate types can be done by workers with the assorted skills, interests, and predilections. Society, along with the individuals in it, benefits from the differences, and that is a very good thing.