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Author Topic: How many bitcoin is a days work worth?  (Read 2078 times)
stan.distortion
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September 15, 2012, 09:10:47 AM
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Stephen Gornick
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September 15, 2012, 10:02:33 AM
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Neither bitcoin or its method of generation are affected by borders and so, in theory, its value shouldn't be affected by borders either. Does this mean that for work that can be done remotely the market is open to every pay scale and at every level?

If you are talking about a job that is performed entirely remote from the employer, such as a telecommuting position, there are still differences -- language, timezone, cultural differences, etc.   So there is not always going to be consistent pay regardless of location.

Currently the bulk of the hiring for this remote and telecommuting work is, as expected, from the wealthier nations which finds less expensive labor in poorer nations though only to those where there is a skilled workforce.   The reason a freelancer in a foreign country might be paid less than the employer's local hires isn't because of the exchange rate of the currency in that worker's country but because of supply and demand.  The employer looking for less expensive labor finds a much larger pool of willing and able potential employees when looking globally and thus supply and demand is what determines price.  

Paying in bitcoins doesn't really change anything with that.

But a significant reason the companies that are doing this remote hiring are able to do so is because of their access to capital.   If that capital too knows no borders, then there's a different dynamic.  Now it is a local employer in that foreign country that might be doing the hiring.  That's where you might see bitcoin becoming a game changer.  There can now be investment that, for the first time, becomes accessible to a team of these talented people who might want to form a company of their own.   They have, for the first time the ability to reach a market outside their own country thanks to their ability to get paid in bitcoins.  The arrival of these two options (to raise capital globally and the ability to sell their goods and services globally) will probably do much more for increasing wages for talent in these regions than does just making it easier to get paid as a remote teleworker.

Incidentally, here's a talk by Michael Levinson, VP of Product, oDesk, which has a lot of freelancers from developing nations.  He describes the challenges to (and importance of) paying those contract workers.  Notice that the bitcoin topic just keeps coming up over and over by those in the audience.  (Which is interesting, because this video is over a year old.)

 - http://vimeo.com/29287295

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September 15, 2012, 11:10:20 AM
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Also: Trust.

You can only outsource so much, since it's too easy for the employees to leak info, steal, fail miserably or flunk.

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September 15, 2012, 11:16:39 AM
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Also: Trust.

You can only outsource so much, since it's too easy for the employees to leak info, steal, fail miserably or flunk.

True, but you know large corporations have to have some sort of insurance policy in place, maybe a hit team on standby to keep the fear in employees, and to take out the trash on others.
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September 15, 2012, 11:21:27 AM
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Not how much you currently get paid converted from fiat at the current exchange rate.

A huge part of the worlds population lives on under $2 a day while others get $2000 a day and more. What is a days work really worth? Should a highly trained professional living and working in a third world country be paid less than an unskilled labourer in a high wage country?

Neither bitcoin or its method of generation are affected by borders and so, in theory, its value shouldn't be affected by borders either. Does this mean that for work that can be done remotely the market is open to every pay scale and at every level?
It depends on who is paying.
People in the $2 parts will not be able to hire a $500/h consultant.
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September 15, 2012, 12:42:49 PM
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Thanks, interesting video. Almost every problem Michael Levinson mentioned with conventional payment methods is solved by bitcoin and he seemed well aware of it. Considering his understanding of it and the level of business he's speaking about then legal recognition of bitcoin as a payment method could be the final link in the chain to really massive adoption.

Mechanical Turk on the other hand seems to have an incredibly narrow view and the question dodging on how they handle escrow is worrying.

Good point on the financing, I hadn't thought of that aspect and it probably the biggest potential game changer considering the cost of setting up a very small business in the west could finance a huge enterprise in an underdeveloped country.

...
It depends on who is paying.
People in the $2 parts will not be able to hire a $500/h consultant.
No but they could have experts of their own that are just as good and they could offer their services in the $500/h part of the world.

Not very propable.
$500 experts can only be created from within a $500 culture.
Current global money systems do not prevent someone from a $2 economy from selling their services to the $500 economy.
It is already possible yet it is not very wide spread.
The problem is whether someone in a $2 economy can get the right education and understand how the $500 economy works to provide meaningfull $500 services.
In a $2 economy people are more likely to struggle for food and clean water than to contemplate the intricacies of the economic constructs of the $500 economy.
Sure it can happen but it would not be something that would occur on a big scale.
And bitcoin will not change that.

What you see in India is how this works.
India invested lots of money in educating people to deal with modern western IT stuff and so these educated people can operate on the global IT market.
No monetary system prevented this from becoming successfull so i'm not sure why bitcoin should have effect on success.

Seriously, i'm starting to think bitcoin is becomming the new snake oil.
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September 15, 2012, 03:13:25 PM
 #7

Nobody is going from $2/day to $500/day. The current money and political system absolutely limits who in the world you can trade your work for $3/day with. It's a huge ladder with nearly all the rungs busted out.

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September 15, 2012, 03:18:20 PM
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Nobody is going from $2/day to $500/day. The current money and political system absolutely limits who in the world you can trade your work for $3/day with. It's a huge ladder with nearly all the rungs busted out.

tl;dr paying $500/day to people in a $2/day region is known as financing terrorism...

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September 15, 2012, 03:30:08 PM
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Current Federal law sets MW at 7.25/hr. At eight hours, that's about 4.96 btc at current rates.

That's nuts. Soon, a day's work at MW be a fraction of a bitcoin.
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September 15, 2012, 03:37:03 PM
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No but they could have experts of their own that are just as good and they could offer their services in the $500/h part of the world.
The local market prevents this.  Some other local expert who wants the job will be competing with that person who is charging $500/hr.  This competitor will offer the same services at $400. This continues with local experts all competing for the job and attempting to acquire the business by being more cost effective.  The pay rate is driven down to a point where the competition starts finding that there is enough work at that level to no longer need to compete for the job.  This will generally be somewhere around the level that would be paid for local work in that field.

Here is an interesting question.  In the previously mentioned $2/hr community, what is the average cost of a weeks worth of food and shelter?  What is the typical annual clothing budget?  Saying that someone only gets paid $2/hr doesn't tell me anything without knowing the local cost of living.  If the average person can get by on $3,000/yr, then they are doing better than the typical minimum wage worker in the U.S.

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September 15, 2012, 04:14:35 PM
 #11

What sort of work?
If it was solid and constant, I would accept less in BTC than I would want in fiat

In fact, anyone hiring for a BTC paying job that can be learned on the fly? I would love to dump fiat completely.

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September 15, 2012, 04:22:40 PM
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Almost half the world's population lives for less than $2 a DAY, over 80% less than $10 a day. Even the poorest countries have universities with highly qualified staff, they are putting a great part of the little they can afford into education and, necessity being the mother of invention, they are turning out some very smart people.

It's true that a ladder exists between these countries and the west and that ladder is mostly made from money, they simply can't afford a way into our world. They have power generation and internet availability though and because of the exchange rates keeping them out of our world even CPU mining would be cost effective.

So that's the main reason I asked this question, if someone from there can do the same job to the same standard as someone from here then what's the value of their work and the value of ours?

Yeah, that's an interesting point, especially when aplliances like the ASICs will be there.
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September 15, 2012, 04:23:15 PM
 #13

What is a days work really worth?

It's worth whatever the worker can exchange it for.
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September 15, 2012, 04:43:40 PM
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BTC does not give everyone equal income. due to hardware costs, some people just cant get a multi rig set-up.

But what it does do however is not prejudice one person over another. as their is no manager/human resources department setting wages due to location of family status. you basically earn what your able to earn. you set your own pay rise by purchasing more equipment.

say you live on $300 a week basic salary from your job.

if you wanted to quit the job and mine coins instead, you would want to be able to get $600 worth of coins a week (due to electricity cost increases and hardware costs). Just to break even to live the standard lifestyle you live without needing a day job.

current price ($11.70). 52BTC a week would cover a similar lifestyle and extra costs.

basically work out how much you would be happy with in fiat and divide it by the BTC price.

just watch out. there is no national minimum wage guarantee.. so if BTC value drops. ur taking an instant pay cut.

back to topic question. even remote location jobs only pay average wage of the location of the workers. this is why US and UK corporations love employing Asian call centre staff, as they are cheaper.

if a US corporation had to pay an international minimum wage as oppose to the local minimum wage of the workers location. things would be much different






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September 15, 2012, 04:49:14 PM
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What bitcoin possibly allows is cross border unionization.
The workers of the world could actually unite using bitcoin to create strong political international groups that defend the rights of all workers, not just workers based in one country.
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September 15, 2012, 04:55:44 PM
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Are you talking about mining? Because I don't think that's what this thread is about. You don't need to mine to get paid with Bitcoin.

i understand your point. i just used the comments

Not how much you currently get paid converted from fiat at the current exchange rate.
and
Neither bitcoin or its method of generation are affected by borders and so, in theory, its value shouldn't be affected by borders either

to reply about how mining (generating) can be affected due to the initial outlay in rig costs hindering low income people from buying hardware as oppose to rich people easily buying hardware by the truckload.

thus the people that already have alot of money (the upper class) will always remain ahead of the lower class


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September 15, 2012, 06:37:13 PM
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The Econtalk Podcast show (the same one that did an episode on bitcoin) touched on this a while back.  

Russ compared a very talented person in Nepal to a lazy untalented teenage babysitter.  The teenager made spectacularly more than a high skill individual.  His theory was that the number of people the Nepalese could trade with was much smaller than Americans.  Because of this, there is limited opportunity for specialization of trade in Nepal.  The wages cannot be bid up, since there is not enough trade to specialize.  Wages are dependent on productivity, and not specializing will make you relatively unproductive.


Bitcoin making trade easier, will help to bring wages closer together by allowing specilization.  There are still a lot of other barriers to trade, but money transfer is one that bitcoin would help with.

I highly recommend this episode: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/02/roberts_on_smit.html




For reference, the bitcoin episode: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/04/andresen_on_bit.html
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September 15, 2012, 06:45:40 PM
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I currently pay a number of employees in Bitcoin.  Until Bitcoin becomes more prevalent and the USD exchange rate less volatile, I'm paying them in Bitcoin pegged to the USD weighted average exchange rate from Mt. Gox, at the time of issuing contractor payments and paychecks.  Thus, their hourly or salary pay is denominated in USD, then converted to Bitcoin at time of payment.
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September 16, 2012, 01:38:18 PM
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The Econtalk Podcast show (the same one that did an episode on bitcoin) touched on this a while back.  

Russ compared a very talented person in Nepal to a lazy untalented teenage babysitter.  The teenager made spectacularly more than a high skill individual.  His theory was that the number of people the Nepalese could trade with was much smaller than Americans.  Because of this, there is limited opportunity for specialization of trade in Nepal.  The wages cannot be bid up, since there is not enough trade to specialize.  Wages are dependent on productivity, and not specializing will make you relatively unproductive.


Bitcoin making trade easier, will help to bring wages closer together by allowing specilization.  There are still a lot of other barriers to trade, but money transfer is one that bitcoin would help with.

I highly recommend this episode: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/02/roberts_on_smit.html




For reference, the bitcoin episode: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/04/andresen_on_bit.html
Thanks for those, hadn't heard the interview with Gavin before Smiley

Couldn't get the image of Arthur Dent and a perfectly normal beast sandwich making monopoly out of my head at the start of the first one. However, he went on to make some very good points but didn't discuss the implications of them (it wasn't the point of the article to do so).

Specialization raises productivity and so the standard of living. He does cover the effect of this in one part, there are only one set of skills required by each person so other skills decline. Taken further it requires people to only have specific skills, in effect it requires people to act more like machines. An education system geared to that result is a scary thought.

As better systems evolve to further increase productivity then each individual can produce more and more. I lived in France for a while and suffered French bureaucracy regularly. Taking a step back from that bureaucracy and seeing how it has continued to increase all the way through the digital revolution which should have made it obsolete its apparent that the only reason it still exists is to provide employment and so keep everyone within the economic system. We've already refined production to a high enough state that the entire world could have a high standard of living with only a fraction of the labour. The majority of the work done today is to support the economic system because it's the foundation of modern society, we've out-evolved it but society as we know it would collapse without it.

Another aspect is productivity could continue to evolve more freely and so provide more new areas for labour to diversify into but is being restricted by anti-competitive practices such as monopolies selling at a loss to restrict competition or the patent system being used to restrict innovation and preventing future technology being built on existing foundations.

Sorry, going off on a rant there. His analysis ended up considering things on a global scale with everyone entitled to compete equally and that's exactly what the communication age has given us.

Bingo.

And that is a problem with society as a whole, and not with the currency system.
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