What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

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LOLBeth
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What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby LOLBeth » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:27 pm UTC

This is weird -- there's a new What-If showing up in my Inoreader feed, and it's not visible on the site at all. Can anyone else see it? The text is in my feed, but the images are all broken links.

Here's the first bit:
Spoiler:
What if people's incomes appeared around them as cash in real time? How much would you need to make to be in real trouble?

Julia Anderson, Albuquerque, NM


First, let's think about coins.

The US federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25/hour, which is about $15,000/year for a full-time job. If you earn the minimum wage, you make a penny every 5 seconds during work hours, or every 20 seconds if you average it over your whole week.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby brenok » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:38 pm UTC

Hm, accessing http://what-if.xkcd.com/118/ directly gives a 404 error, but googling it shows an excerpt of the content, which Google and your reader probably cached. To me it looks like Randall put it up and then removed it.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby stoppedcaring » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:45 pm UTC

I'm not going to copy and paste it, but you can read the whole thing if you google it and then open cache. No pictures though.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:48 pm UTC

I once thought it would be awesome to have a magic clock which generates a penny for every tick of the second hand, to give you a modest trickle of income to live off of for no work... until I realized that comes out to the equivalent of over $15k/hour full-time work, so hardly "a modest trickle", and it would be delivered in the form of 9kg of metal per hour, all day, every day... that would pile up fast.
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Febrion » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:03 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I once thought it would be awesome to have a magic clock which generates a penny for every tick of the second hand, to give you a modest trickle of income to live off of for no work... until I realized that comes out to the equivalent of over $15k/hour full-time work, so hardly "a modest trickle", and it would be delivered in the form of 9kg of metal per hour, all day, every day... that would pile up fast.


Don't mean to be pedantic, but $0.01 per hour adds up to $36 per hour - nothing to sneeze at, but far from $15000 per hour.

And re:"missing what-if" --- I'd be concerned if it was late, but it's not tuesday yet1190


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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby stoppedcaring » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:09 pm UTC

Febrion wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I once thought it would be awesome to have a magic clock which generates a penny for every tick of the second hand, to give you a modest trickle of income to live off of for no work... until I realized that comes out to the equivalent of over $15k/hour full-time work, so hardly "a modest trickle", and it would be delivered in the form of 9kg of metal per hour, all day, every day... that would pile up fast.


Don't mean to be pedantic, but $0.01 per hour adds up to $36 per hour - nothing to sneeze at, but far from $15000 per hour.

I think he means one penny per tick-of-the-second-hand all the time, or 604,800 pennies per week, which corresponds to a "full-time" (40 hours per week) hourly wage of $151.20 -- he probably forgot to divide by 100.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby bachaddict » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:48 pm UTC

It's up properly now.
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby LOLBeth » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:55 pm UTC

Hurrah, pictures!!

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby LOLBeth » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:59 pm UTC

Also, I quite like the idea of Zuckerberg getting his income dropped on his head in the form of loose change, although in my version of the story, he doesn't manage to get out from underneath.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby daughtkom » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:03 pm UTC

That's not Zuckerberg. He's not wearing a hoodie.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Klear » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:20 pm UTC

Febrion wrote:Don't mean to be pedantic, but $0.01 per hour adds up to $36 per hour - nothing to sneeze at, but far from $15000 per hour.


Don't mean to be pedantic, but $0.01 per hour doesn't add up to $36 per hour.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:06 pm UTC

Given that minimum wage of $7.25/hour averages out to a penny per 20 seconds, a penny per second is obviously 20 times that, which is $145/hour (for the same regular full-time work hours)
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby yellow103 » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:20 pm UTC

I was wishing for Scrooge McDuck to show up, but I guess that would make him a regular (http://whatif.xkcd.com/111/).

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby january1may » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:54 pm UTC

Over here in Russia, there are 1 kopek coins... at latest exchange rate, 0.023 of a US cent. (For a while, they were pretty much out of circulation - having last been minted in 2009 - but some were made again in 2014, so I can honestly consider them current money.)
For someone working at American minimum wage - that is to say, getting a respectable salary of $1300 per month - the result would be close to two such coins per second if it averages out, or nine per second during working hours only.
At 1.49 grams and 15.5 millimeters, these coins are relatively tiny; still, a plastic water bottle full of these would only be about a dollar or two worth of money (not sure how much precisely - depends on what size the bottle is, which wasn't made clear in the original WI).

Incidentally, when I first saw the title, I thought of a funnier idea: the root of the word "salary" is salt, as in NaCl (the stuff used in food). Essentially, it comes from some Romans at some point getting salt as their wage... no idea how that worked out specifically.
Now, the question: at modern prices, how much salt per working day would a minimum wage worker get if wages were given out that way? (You can assume the salt involved comes in plastic water bottles if it makes the question easier.)
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:34 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:
Febrion wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I once thought it would be awesome to have a magic clock which generates a penny for every tick of the second hand, to give you a modest trickle of income to live off of for no work... until I realized that comes out to the equivalent of over $15k/hour full-time work, so hardly "a modest trickle", and it would be delivered in the form of 9kg of metal per hour, all day, every day... that would pile up fast.


Don't mean to be pedantic, but $0.01 per hour adds up to $36 per hour - nothing to sneeze at, but far from $15000 per hour.

I think he means one penny per tick-of-the-second-hand all the time, or 604,800 pennies per week, which corresponds to a "full-time" (40 hours per week) hourly wage of $151.20 -- he probably forgot to divide by 100.

You are correct; and I suspected that something was off with that number but double-checked it and couldn't find a mistake and ran with it anyway.

I took 60 (cents per minute) times 60 (minutes per hour) times 24 (hours per day) times 365 (days per year) and divided the result by 52 (weeks per year) and again by 40 (working hours per week) to get an effective "full-time" (8 hours a day, 5 days a week) hourly wage for the actually-full-time (every single second, non-stop) money produced by the magic clock. And apparently forgot that I started with cents instead of dollars.

Probably should have done as you did and only gone up to a week and then back down, instead of up to a year, which is not quite evenly divisible into 52 weeks.
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:05 am UTC

It's one of the more shocking things to come out of What If (at least to me) to realise that if Mark Zuckerberg only worked for ten seconds in a whole year, he'd earn more than a minimum-wage worker working full time. Ten seconds. My Facebook page takes almost that long to load...

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:06 am UTC

january1may wrote:Incidentally, when I first saw the title, I thought of a funnier idea: the root of the word "salary" is salt, as in NaCl (the stuff used in food). Essentially, it comes from some Romans at some point getting salt as their wage... no idea how that worked out specifically.
Now, the question: at modern prices, how much salt per working day would a minimum wage worker get if wages were given out that way? (You can assume the salt involved comes in plastic water bottles if it makes the question easier.)

Google to the rescue!

The bog-standard 26oz (737g) cylinder of Morton iodized table salt is about 75 cents at the local Target/WalMart/KMart.

I happen to have one of those here; it's 8.5cm across and 14cm tall, for a volume of ~0.8 L.

Min wage for a day is ($7.25/hour x 8 hours) = $58 = 77+1/3 salt cylinders.

So 61.9 L or 57.0 kg of salt per workday.

My salt container also claims to have 491 servings, and 4 servings is 100% of your recommended sodium intake (and 180% of your iodine intake). So every day you get enough salt to sodiumize yourself for (491 / 4 * 77.33 / 365) = 26 years.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:23 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:It's one of the more shocking things to come out of What If (at least to me) to realise that if Mark Zuckerberg only worked for ten seconds in a whole year, he'd earn more than a minimum-wage worker working full time. Ten seconds. My Facebook page takes almost that long to load...

Reminds me of a joke I've seen repeated (and reposted) a zillion times. Bill Gates (or someone else rich, but Gates is recognizable and well known for being filthy rich) thinks to himself, "I should save up to buy a yacht." A beat panel or three. "That should about do it."
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:52 am UTC

I also like figuring out pro athlete salaries based just on actual game time.

Mike Scifres, punter for the San Diego Chargers, $4.035 million this year ($3.25 million salary, plus bonuses).

He's played 8 of this season's 16 games, and punted 35 times. If a punt play averages 10 seconds, he'll work a bit less than 12 minutes this year.

A tidy $20,000,000 per hour.

If Zuckerberg/Gates/Buffet are working a "normal" 2000 hour work year for their $10 billion, Scifres is out-earning all of them combined (or out-earning each of them 4-to-1).

This does make me wish my username were Mikesci rather than Mikeski.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:45 am UTC

What does the "I'm so sorry" in one of the pictures mean?
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:15 am UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:What does the "I'm so sorry" in one of the pictures mean?

It means weapons-grade sarcasm.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:38 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:
Envelope Generator wrote:What does the "I'm so sorry" in one of the pictures mean?

It means weapons-grade sarcasm.


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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:44 am UTC

Oh, I got 945'd.
I'm going to step off the LEM now... here we are, Pismo Beach and all the clams we can eat

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby ThemePark » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:35 am UTC

"600 bottles of coins on the floor, 600 bottles of coins..."
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby jgh » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:42 am UTC

"earn" != "pay". The whole point of a minimum wage is that the employers of people who people to *earn* too little to live on are forced to *pay* more than those employers earn.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby schapel » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:26 am UTC

Your pay is what you earn for work.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:08 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:Given that minimum wage of $7.25/hour averages out to a penny per 20 seconds, a penny per second is obviously 20 times that, which is $145/hour (for the same regular full-time work hours)


What?

$7.25/hour is 725 pennies per hour, or just over 12 pennies per minute, or just over 0.2 pennies per second, so you get a new penny a hair faster than every 5 seconds. (~4.9655 seconds)

Of course, that's while you're working. But you don't get paid when you're not working in the scenario described here.

OK, my main problem with this "What-If" is that, whenever I have worked for an hourly wage, just over minimum wage in high school or not, I got paid by the quarter hour, not by the second. (Technically, I got paid every week or two, but based on rounding to the nearest 15 minutes.) $7.25/hour is the ugly $1.8125/(quarter hour), so in the U.S., every 15 minutes you would get a dollar bill, three quarters, and 7 or 8 pennies (8 every fourth "deposit"). There's no reason to assume it's all in pennies. While this would still quickly become heavy*, it wouldn't be AS heavy.

* - or not, I envision some method of having robots coming by your workstation to exchange your pennies for dollar bills every 3 hours or so, quarters for dollar bills every half hour or so, and dollar bills for twenties every 3 hours or so.
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby rittermj » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:58 pm UTC

Net worth (wealth) is not income. Part of that increase is due to any income the person made, either as a salary or from captial gains. The vast majority of that kind of increase is due to the increased value of the assets that are held. For most of the cited people it is the increase in the market price of the stock they own. Of course they also own other assests that will contribute to that rise in net worth, but stock price tends to be the dominant factor.

To say that Mark Zuckerburg "made" $10 billion dollars in completely incorrect. The cited source indicates that his net worth increased by $10.5 billion from Jan 2013 to Dec 2013. In that same time frame the share price of Facebook went from around $30 to not quite $60. That is where the majority of the increase in his net worth came from.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby dushoff » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:04 pm UTC

I was unable to read beyond the third paragraph because it all seems wrong, which is of course impossible, so somebody help me out.

"Someone making minimum wage in pennies would earn about 30 lbs of pennies per workday. Two weeks' worth of pay in pennies would fill a small carry-on suitcase. At 150 lbs, the suitcase would probably be too heavy to pick up. However, if they were paid in quarters instead of pennies, two weeks' pay would only weigh about 3 lbs."

There are ten days in two typical work weeks, so 30 lb/day * 10 day should be 300 lb, not 150 lb. Maybe he meant one week? Still would be a very unusual mistake. But now, it says two weeks pay in quarters would only weigh 3lb. Since there are 25 pennies per quarter, the quarter bag will have 1/25th as many coins as the penny bag. If quarters weighed the same as pennies, the (one week) suitcase would already weigh 150lb/25 = 6lb. Since quarters weigh a bit more than twice a penny it would really be more like 13lb (this is assuming the 30lb/day is correct) or 26 lb if we're really talking about two weeks.

What's going on here? Is it a hoax? A test? Did I finally lose my marbles?

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:48 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
january1may wrote:Incidentally, when I first saw the title, I thought of a funnier idea: the root of the word "salary" is salt, as in NaCl (the stuff used in food). Essentially, it comes from some Romans at some point getting salt as their wage... no idea how that worked out specifically.
Now, the question: at modern prices, how much salt per working day would a minimum wage worker get if wages were given out that way? (You can assume the salt involved comes in plastic water bottles if it makes the question easier.)

Google to the rescue!

The bog-standard 26oz (737g) cylinder of Morton iodized table salt is about 75 cents at the local Target/WalMart/KMart.

I happen to have one of those here; it's 8.5cm across and 14cm tall, for a volume of ~0.8 L.

Min wage for a day is ($7.25/hour x 8 hours) = $58 = 77+1/3 salt cylinders.

So 61.9 L or 57.0 kg of salt per workday.

My salt container also claims to have 491 servings, and 4 servings is 100% of your recommended sodium intake (and 180% of your iodine intake). So every day you get enough salt to sodiumize yourself for (491 / 4 * 77.33 / 365) = 26 years.

"...every day you get enough salt to sodomize yourself..."

But when salt was used as pay, salt was much rarer and thus more expensive.

So...what type of salt are we talking about here? Because ordinary iodized table salt may be fairly cheap, but not all salt is created equal.

I love how the Internet has SO many lists of the "most expensive" variety of something. This page lists what it claims are the ten most expensive salts; topping the list is Amethyst Bamboo Coarse Sea Salt, a gray sea salt that's sun-dried and aged in bamboo with some special kind of clay. Anyway, you can get it at a discount: $36 for a taster, or $272 for a whole pound! What a steal!

The minimum wage earner would "gross" one pound, one ounce of this salt each week.

But is that really the most expensive salt?

The first food eaten on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts was...bacon. Bacon has a fairly high salt content...now, I don't know whether the bacon they ate was a low-sodium variety, but we can assume it wasn't for the purposes of this question. A slice of cooked bacon weighs about 8 grams and can contain nearly a whole gram of table salt...a ratio of about 1:10.

The whole Apollo 11 lander had a mass of 15,200 kg. It wouldn't be fair to count the entire cost of developing the Apollo program, but we can count the cost of launching the Apollo 11 lander: $1.75 billion after adjustments for inflation. That comes to $115,131 per kilogram...but since the salt was in bacon at a 1:10 ratio, the actual cost of the salt would be just over $1.1 million per kg.

Which means it would take a block of "moon landing salt" with the same weight as an adult elephant to pay Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg for a single year.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Klear » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:33 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:the actual cost of the salt would be just over $1.1 million per kg.


That salt had no cost as it wasn't for sale.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:35 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:the actual cost of the salt would be just over $1.1 million per kg.


That salt had no cost as it wasn't for sale.

Yet America definitely bought it.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Introbulus » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:54 pm UTC

This What-if definitely reminds me of Scrooge McDuck, and reminds me of a huge problem I've had for a long time with the way people tend to calculate his net worth - false assumptions on what type of money is kept in his Money Bin.

First off, while his money bin CAN function as a home, and does function as an office building, the majority of it does consist of a vault to hold his money, so there's that to start.

Second, it is false to assume it represents his entire fortune - it is only a portion of his net worth, the representation of all the money he ever made with his own two hands. In daily business practice, most of the money he makes doesn't even go into the bin.

But most egregariously, the assumption that his money bin is made up of a uniform type of money.

It is true that a good deal of money in his money bin is made up of US coins and dollars, and of course golden coins as well, but Scrooge has been filling his money bin for decades, and much of that money is more valuable than it would appear. There are spanish galleons from sunken ship expeditions towards the bottom of the pile, gold coins and nuggets of real gold, incredibly rare and priceless coins from the start of the century, though the last one doesn't count towards his net worth, since Scrooge refuses to sell his coins for profit (one of the few things he refuses to do for a profit).

There's a good Duck Comic about Donald Duck making an expedition to the bottom of Scrooge's money bin to retrieve exaclty one coin, figuring *quite rightly* that it would be the most valuable coin in Scrooge's bin, due to its age, rarity, and sheer size.

Someone with more time and mathematical skill could probably make a much more accurate measurement of the net worth of Scrooge's money bin if they got a hold of that comic, and properly divided his bin into layers of money. Or we could just use that formula for what objects in a granular pile are most likely to fall to the bottom (which probably explains why gold coins are so prevalent at the top of Scrooge's money bin) to figure out the distribution.
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Coop » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:59 pm UTC

dushoff wrote:I was unable to read beyond the third paragraph because it all seems wrong, which is of course impossible, so somebody help me out.

"Someone making minimum wage in pennies would earn about 30 lbs of pennies per workday. Two weeks' worth of pay in pennies would fill a small carry-on suitcase. At 150 lbs, the suitcase would probably be too heavy to pick up. However, if they were paid in quarters instead of pennies, two weeks' pay would only weigh about 3 lbs."

There are ten days in two typical work weeks, so 30 lb/day * 10 day should be 300 lb, not 150 lb. Maybe he meant one week? Still would be a very unusual mistake. But now, it says two weeks pay in quarters would only weigh 3lb. Since there are 25 pennies per quarter, the quarter bag will have 1/25th as many coins as the penny bag. If quarters weighed the same as pennies, the (one week) suitcase would already weigh 150lb/25 = 6lb. Since quarters weigh a bit more than twice a penny it would really be more like 13lb (this is assuming the 30lb/day is correct) or 26 lb if we're really talking about two weeks.

What's going on here? Is it a hoax? A test? Did I finally lose my marbles?


I came here to say the same thing. The math is wrong! I can't read further! I've held many a $10 roll of quarters, and know it's about 1/2 a pound. Unless there's some unmentioned tax calculation going into play here something is wrong.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby chalkie » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:10 pm UTC

january1may wrote:Incidentally, when I first saw the title, I thought of a funnier idea: the root of the word "salary" is salt, as in NaCl (the stuff used in food). Essentially, it comes from some Romans at some point getting salt as their wage... no idea how that worked out specifically.


We weren't literally paid in salt, we were paid in Denarii. As a legionary I was paid 300 Denarii P.A. after that nice emperor Domitian increased out salaries around the year Caesar Domitianus Augustus X (later to be known as year 84)

We called it "salary" because that was an example of what we might use the money for.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby stoppedcaring » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:49 pm UTC

chalkie wrote:
january1may wrote:Incidentally, when I first saw the title, I thought of a funnier idea: the root of the word "salary" is salt, as in NaCl (the stuff used in food). Essentially, it comes from some Romans at some point getting salt as their wage... no idea how that worked out specifically.


We weren't literally paid in salt, we were paid in Denarii. As a legionary I was paid 300 Denarii P.A. after that nice emperor Domitian increased out salaries around the year Caesar Domitianus Augustus X (later to be known as year 84)

We called it "salary" because that was an example of what we might use the money for.

I'm older that I look.

Gaius Plinius Secundus, since known as Pliny the Elder, who died five years before the date you reference, disagrees. As he explained:
"Quin et pecudes armentaque et iumenta sale maxime sollictiantur ad pastus, multo tum largiore lacte multoque gratiore etiam in caseo dote. ergo, Hercules, vita humanior sine sale non quit degere, adeoque necessarium elementum est, uti transierit intellectus ad voluptates animi quoque eximias. sales appellantur, omnisque vitae leps et summa hilaritas laborumque requies non alio magis vocabulo constat. Honoribus etiam militaeque interponitur salariis inde dictis, magna apud antiquos et auctoritate, sicut apparet ex nomine Salariae viae, quoniam illa salem in Sabinos portari convenerat. Ancus Marcius rex salis modios VI in congiario dedit populis et salinas primus instituit. Varro etiam pulmentarii vice usos veteres auctor est, salem cum pane esitasse eos proverbio apparet. maxime tamen in sacris intellegitur auctoritas, quando nulla conficiuntur sine mola salsa."

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mathmannix
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:04 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:
"Quin et pecudes armentaque et iumenta sale maxime sollictiantur ad pastus, multo tum largiore lacte multoque gratiore etiam in caseo dote. ergo, Hercules, vita humanior sine sale non quit degere, adeoque necessarium elementum est, uti transierit intellectus ad voluptates animi quoque eximias. sales appellantur, omnisque vitae leps et summa hilaritas laborumque requies non alio magis vocabulo constat. Honoribus etiam militaeque interponitur salariis inde dictis, magna apud antiquos et auctoritate, sicut apparet ex nomine Salariae viae, quoniam illa salem in Sabinos portari convenerat. Ancus Marcius rex salis modios VI in congiario dedit populis et salinas primus instituit. Varro etiam pulmentarii vice usos veteres auctor est, salem cum pane esitasse eos proverbio apparet. maxime tamen in sacris intellegitur auctoritas, quando nulla conficiuntur sine mola salsa."


Words I understand: et, sale, tum, in, Hercules, sine, sale, quit, ad, sales, vitae, et, pane, in, salsa.

From which I gather that Hercules et some salsa because it was on sale, and was in pane, so he took some Tums and it quit.
Last edited by mathmannix on Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:15 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby chalkie » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:04 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:Gaius Plinius Secundus, since known as Pliny the Elder, who died five years before the date you reference, disagrees. As he explained..


Don't recall meeting the fella, sorry.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Introbulus » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:17 pm UTC

chalkie wrote:
january1may wrote:Incidentally, when I first saw the title, I thought of a funnier idea: the root of the word "salary" is salt, as in NaCl (the stuff used in food). Essentially, it comes from some Romans at some point getting salt as their wage... no idea how that worked out specifically.


We weren't literally paid in salt, we were paid in Denarii. As a legionary I was paid 300 Denarii P.A. after that nice emperor Domitian increased out salaries around the year Caesar Domitianus Augustus X (later to be known as year 84)

We called it "salary" because that was an example of what we might use the money for.

I'm older that I look.


You look like a fish.

And, as a highly intelligent talking chipmunk, I refuse to take historical reference from talking fish, unless they are Coelacanth.
If you can read this, you are wasting your time.

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Re: What-If 0118: "Physical Salary"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:34 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:
Mikeski wrote:So every day you [earn] enough salt to sodiumize yourself for (491 / 4 * 77.33 / 365) = 26 years.

"...every day you get enough salt to sodomize yourself..."

Oy! No explaining the joke! :wink:

stoppedcaring wrote:But when salt was used as pay, salt was much rarer and thus more expensive.

That difference in price was part of january1may's question ("at modern prices...").

stoppedcaring wrote:So...what type of salt are we talking about here? Because ordinary iodized table salt may be fairly cheap, but not all salt is created equal.

I used cheap table salt because that's the best equivalent to what those Roman soldiers got. I don't think they got salt created by evaporating seawater off the naked thighs of the Vestal virgins, or anything like that.


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