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Re: Salary Survey

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>Chris, the invisible hand doesn't belong to the free market, it belongs to
>the gummint and it's in my wallet. You may wish to consider a life
>guaranteed job with the post office.
I guess I wasn't clear. The allusion was to Adam Smith's (I think) term 
for the effect of market forces is translating the pursuit of profits 
into a better deal for everyone. Supposedly the 'invisible hand' does it 
better than anything--even brains and a little thought for the future. 

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your concern about my economic 
welfare. Afraid I've been gainfully self-employed way too long, though, 
and I've disposed of the necessary illusions for corporate life. Thanks 

Seems to me that the whole issue of what engineers should be getting paid 
points up the major limitation of laissez-faire or supply side economics: 
the fact that it only works well in the short term. I get what I think is 
a good deal on a vacuum cleaner that turns out to be junk, and I know 
where not to by my next vaccuum cleaner. I tell my friends, and pretty 
soon the schlockmeister is out of business. That's the invisible hand at 
work. But when we need some vision, say, for nuclear power plant design, 
laissez-faire tend to fall apart--like the US nuclear power program. Too 
many unintended consequences and the consequences of a hidden flaw are 
just too profound for short term thinking. We can't afford to leave such 
things up to bean counters and and the lowest bid.

In a smaller way it sounds like that with engineered residential design. 
On a short term basis people don't see it as worth its cost--better to 
get jack up the resale value with brass plumbing fixtures. So engineers 
get bitter about having to scrape by with a marginal design for a 
marginal fee and want their rates jacked up--counter to the 'invisible 
hand' theory where the lowest price sets the value. But that's the way it 

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)