Don't equate your income, or anyone else's, with moral worth.
Though admittedly an economic theory amoeba, I am intrigued by Stephen Postrel’s idea that “merit tracks value with a lag.” I don’t know exactly what he means by the phrase, but to me, the lag part nicely addresses the measurement problem in trying to analyze the immediate + lasting impact of an idea or action (kind of like being able to determine a particle’s speed or position but not at the same time). I get McCloskey’s POV but am unable to see virtues as anything but intertwined cause and effect.
I also wholeheartedly agree that people would feel less conflicted (an emotional reaction) if we were able to rationally distinguish between value and merit (an intellectual action). But until *we* (meaning most people) regain a shared, objective understanding of the terms we use, our thinking/emoting will be plagued by our subjective, overly emotional attachment to the word *fair.*
(Slightly edited after posting)
The discussion of “Email Jobs” is interesting and reminds me of David Graeber’s irreverent and funny “Bullshit Jobs.”
I am not sure about the Danish welfare state but regarding the Swedish one, it is often better for a middle-class person than for a working-class one today. https://glibe.substack.com/p/the-swedish-welfare-state-more-as
Makes me think of this classic "Worthington's Law" sketch. I swear I have heard some of my fellow free marketeers conflate net worth and moral value just like in the sketch :p