Who are the wealth creators?

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Advertisers and bankers are of less value to society than hospital cleaners and child minders, according to a report published last month.

It might already seem like common sense that those working in advertising contribute significantly less to society's wellbeing than those employed on minimum wage to clean hospitals. But the report, by the New Economics Foundation, argues that the economic benefits brought about by some of the poorest workers far exceed those earning bucketloads.

The report argues that high pay often goes to people who have a detrimental impact on the economy and don't return the costs of their activities.

Childcare workers, for example, are estimated to create up to £9.50 for society for every pound they receive in wages. This relates to the fact that childcare is essential for working parents to create wealth through their own work. Recycling workers are said to create £12 for every £1 paid to them, when environmental costs and otherwise depletion of resources are factored in.

Conversely, the wasters include City bankers earning over £1 million annually, who manage to destroy £7 for every £1 they make for themselves. This is due to the destruction of nearly 20 years' worth of profits by banks such as Halifax and the Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as the devastating impact of the banking collapses on the real economy, such as mass job losses.

This flies in the face of the accepted wisdom of New Labour, who have always maintained that high pay is justifiable so long as it adds to the general wellbeing of the population.