German "social status" still offensive

lappel at eagle.wesleyan.edu lappel at eagle.wesleyan.edu
Thu Nov 4 10:57:27 EST 1993


In article <2b6h18$p8l at usenet.rpi.edu>, peapud at aix02.ecs.rpi.edu (Diane Hope Peapus) writes:
>>Newsgroups: bionet.jobs
>>From: W.Chen at de.dkfz-heidelberg (Weiyun Chen)
>>Subject: RE: POSITIONS IN BIOCOMPUTING AND MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY
>>Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1993 09:35:26 GMT
> 
>>In my article <1993Oct28.153842.24801 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk>, concerning
>>
>>> POSITIONS IN BIOCOMPUTING AND MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY
>>> AT THE GERMAN CANCER RESEARCH CENTER (DKFZ), HEIDELBERG
>>
>>I wrote
>>>                                                 [ ... ] Salaries will
>>> fall within the German BAT IIa - Ib groups (cca DM 70-80 000 per annum
>>> depending on experience and social status) [ ... ]
>>                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>>First I apologize for insulting some people without any intention.
>>In Germany the BAT system is quiet complicated, your salary depends
>>not only on your age but also on your marital status and how many
>>children you have etc. Unfortunately we chose the term "social status"
>>without knowing that people might misunderstand it.
>>
>>Best regards,
>>					Weiyun Chen
> ____________________________________________________________________
> 
> 	Unfortunately, your explanation is no less offensive than some of
> the presumptions.  People's salaries should be determined based on what
> they do while they are in work.  What they do in their spare time is their
> own business and has no place in the salary calculation.  Who's the German
> BAT system to determine that it is more valid for a person to spend
> 20K/year to keep a child than to spend 20K/year to build and keep a sail
> boat?  Thus rewarding the child barer with additional salary and punishing
> the sail boat builder with less?  The choice of the word "social status" is 
> very appropriate based on your explanation of it's meaning, and the 
> objection to the meaning stands even stronger than the objection to the 
> choice of words.  It's easy to forgive people for choosing an inappropriate
> word in a translation.  But the objection here is conceptual and not 
> translational.
> 
> 	It seems as though 4th Reich has become more subtle in their
> imposition of behavior modification on the masses than it's predecessors
> have been.  So subtle that Weiyun Chen feels obligated to defend it. 
> 
> 	I would appeal to the moderator of these news groups to deny job
> posting privileges to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), and other 
> employers who determine salary based on social status.
> 
> 			Sincerely,
> 			Diane H Peapus

	There are some societies on earth that find the raising of children an
important contribution to society at large.  If there are going to be children,
and the perpetuation of the society and the passing on of its traditions, 
values, and history, as well as support of the aged beyond their productive
lifetimes, then someone has to raise, nurture, and socialize those children.
	Most societies support that raising and socializing in some way.  In
the US, it is mainly by the funding of public schools by all taxpayers, and
certain other parts of the tax code that start to appear archaic as society has
changed.  Some societies do even more to help child-rearers with the economic
burden they have voluntarily assumed.
	Whether or not you agree with this, even if you consider childbearing a
hedonistic, resource-consuming, world-polluting  activity, I don't think you
have the right to tell other societies, or even other people in your own, what
they may put value on.  
	As for being paid the value of the work you actually do, does anyone
really believe that the CEO making 1 million a year is doing work 100x 
 as valuable as the janitor who cleans his or her office for 10 K a year?
        And as for being paid to do something you enjoy and would choose to do
anyway, aren't most of us biologists in that position?
	[end of diatribe]
Laurel F. Appel



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