Earning vs. "Receiving"

I notice you sometimes talk about mega-millionaire CEOs with a description of "Mr. X earns so many million dollars per year" etc. I hear MANY people make comments like this. I feel we should say "Mr. X RECEIVES $$$" rather than EARNS. It is not at all clear to me that these individuals truly earn the obscene amounts of money they receive. I've been reading George Lakoff...and I think this word matters! You don't have to agree, but I feel that if more prominent commentators used "receives" or some other word rather than "earns" it would help to change the perception that the all-knowing market determines the "worth" of participants by their salary with razor-sharp accuracy. I think the accuracy of the market is more in the range of the meat-axe! And, of course, markets can be manipulated by the powerful. Especially those who can pick friends to sit on the Board of Directors that grants their salary increase.

Official response from submitted

Agreed. The word "earns" carries associations that the word "receives" need not, so it would be more accurate and precise to use receives than earns. I will try to do that more consistently from now on.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-03-12 15:49:22 -0400
  • Christopher Kavanaugh
    commented 2017-03-11 14:24:45 -0500
    When Jesus fed 5000 ( and their women and children) bread and fish was it earned or received? THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST doesn’t have to apply to PC wordspeak.
    We know what’s going on. Rearranging linguistic deck chairs is no substitute for fixing a leaky ship.
  • Kelley Smith
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-03-11 09:37:51 -0500