Today I read an article in The Sun. Yes, I know, shame on me, but in my defence, I was having lunch alone and the waiter asked me if I would like to see his Sun. For a brief moment, I actually thought I was being asked if I wanted to see his son, but managed to recover fairly quickly and before you could say ‘what’s his name?’, I was reading the article about Niklas Bendtner and his amazing £52K per week pay packet.
The fact of the matter is that you might as well be asking if Tracey Emin’s Unmade Bed is worth £75,000, if That’ll be the Day by the Quarrymen is worth £150,000 or if the Mona Lisa is worth £100 Million. Of course, the answer to all of these question is: yes! That is the law of supply and demand in action. It is no good some football fan complaining about the price of tickets and the size of Bendtner’s pay packet. The truth is that he earns his market worth just like everyone else who is employed in a job of any kind.
If Arsenal wanted to test the market, they could try reducing his salary. What would happen, of course, is that he would become disgruntled and would leave the club for another that recognised his true worth and were prepared to pay for it. That’s how it works; and the same is true for you, of course. Whatever the top salary is within your own industry for the role you presently occupy, remember that no matter how good you get at performing it, your earnings are limited and controlled by the law of supply and demand.
You might even get to earn that top salary, but you would need to be exceptional to exceed it and, even then, you would be exceedingly unlikely to double it. If you wanted to earn £52,000 per week, it would be very straight-forward. Here is one route you might consider taking, provided you were young enough and determined enough, of course.
You could make all the sacrifices necessary to become a top athlete and, if you were lucky enough to stay clear of injury and you managed to progress to the highest level, you might just earn yourself a shot at playing for a top football club. Then you would simply need to pour your life into becoming the very best you could possibly become and, who knows, you might even get into the first-team squad. Then, provided you could keep pace with the astonishing level of demands made at the highest level and could outcompete your peers, you would be in with a chance of earning that £52,000 pay packet – provided, of course, you also had a good agent.
Let’s not complain about the law of supply and demand, but instead recognise that there are very few players of Bendtner’s calibre and that’s why Arsenal happily pay him his salary. Oh yes, and the same is true for Tracey’s bed! Yes, it’s true that you could easily do the same (or similar), so all you need to do is build a reputation as an international and controversial artist, get well enough connected in the art world, start your own exhibition and you too could be earning a cool £75K for doing a lot less than Niklas Bendtener.
Hopefully, you get the point: like it or lump it, there is only one Tracey Emin. So there you go. That’s the law of supply and demand in action. Both of these examples show that the price paid for something is not a measure of its quality, but a measure of its worth, which is to a very large extent dependent upon its rarity.