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“You Are Paid In Direct Proportion To The Difficulty Of The Problems You Solve.” Elon Musk

If you look around, people’s salaries mostly follow this rule. Moreover, Musk’s will to solve the problem of the survival of the human species by making man a being with a multiplanetary civilization (via SpaceX and the colonization of Mars) could explain why he was once the richest man on the planet (it was actually thanks to the explosion of Tesla’s stock). In short, there would probably be an obvious correlation between salary and the difficulty of the problems we are asked to solve.

This Is Not Always True

You will tell me that there are researchers who are paid a pittance while they are employed to solve complex problems. To which I could answer three things: they are probably the exception that proves the rule, the problems they are trying to solve may not be as difficult as we think, or they have to solve a big problem, while other better paid professions solve smaller problems, but which together become bigger than those of researchers.

What To Do With This Rule?

I don’t know if this rule is absolutely true but I want to use it as food for thought. How can we benefit from this rule for our own lives? The world is becoming more and more complex but the share of people who tackle the most complex problems remains constant or even decreases.
In order to make more money, you have to get into the habit of solving more and more complex problems.

What Might Be The Characteristics Of A Complex Problem?

Here is a non-exhaustive list of elements that I think could be part of a complex problem:

– the problem is poorly documented, one cannot easily find information to solve it
– it is linked to human life (the more humans are impacted the more important it becomes, e.g. doctors)
– It requires knowledge and skills that take a long time to learn (developer etc.)
– it requires the coordination of several individuals to be carried out (e.g. start-ups that are worth billions involve several people)
– It requires a mental paradigm shift involving heterogeneous knowledge
– It requires a complex material to be used to be solved

The Problems Of Today And Tomorrow

The ecological issue remains at the forefront of all political issues. We are becoming more and more sensitive to ecology as we become aware of our duty of transmission to the next generation. Ecology is not a simple problem on a macroscopic scale. It is, however, simple to solve on an individual scale. If everyone changes his or her way of consuming and living, catastrophic consequences can be avoided. Because there is not much money to be made by solving the climate problem individually, few people will drastically change their lifestyle.

A New Currency Will Emerge

In a world where there is no more portable water or things to eat, money has no value. Money has not always been the currency to pay people. Before, it was land, animals, prestige (title of nobility etc.) etc. Moreover, there was a contempt of a part of the European aristocracy for trade and usury. One can imagine that a new form of nobility will emerge and it will be animated by ecological values (where before it was animated by warlike and Christian values). Most certainly this currency will be intangible and it will be linked to our contribution to preserve the environment.

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