Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Soldier's low pay

Insightful excerpts from a recent blog post:
The compensating wage for bearing risk varies, obviously, with the risk, and the risk in turn depends on efforts that are and will be made to minimize the risk, including body armor, rescue, medical treatment, and so forth. Knowing that one's fellow soldiers do not just abandon one when the cost of rescue would be disproportionate to any tactical value of the rescue reduces the wage that a volunteer army has to pay to attract soldiers of the quality it wants. ...

Persons who join the military to obtain or exercise technical skills have civilian alternatives, so the military has to compete with civilian employers for the services of such persons. But if you want to be a combat soldier, there is only one possible employer (if you are an American) and that is the U.S. government. So the government can pay a low wage to persons desiring that employment--in fact it seems that it can pay a lower wage than it does to its military technicians (adjusting for the value of the technical training that the latter receive) even though the latter are less exposed to combat risks.

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