Beginning with the initial outbreak in China, the current crisis in Italy and subsequently, throughout the world, doctors and nurses in all departments were told they may have to start working in emergency rooms and intensive care units, a directive that sent shock waves through the medical community.
Doctors and health workers across the world are giving up time with their loved ones to help keep ours safe and well. They have a simple request for all their hard work in combating #coronavirus ...#socialdistancing #stayathome #stayhomeforus #COVID2019AU #medtwitter pic.twitter.com/z9EUsiYnvsâ AMA Media (@ama_media) March 19, 2020
As demands ramp up with the number of cases inching closer to 300,000, itâs sobering to realise how crucial the role of medical personnel are in society. An estimated 10-15 million doctors practice across the globe, and their counterparts in some of the worldâs more flashy, glamorous job titles receive compensation thatâs quite simply absurd - given the need of the hour.
Weâre taking a closer look at the income disparities doctors have to face in four hotspots where the virusâ physical and social presence has made massive changes - India, China, Italy and the United States. Hereâs what we find:1. Social Media Influencers
Thereâs no avoiding it - social media influencers have taken over their respective platforms in the last 10years, and their incomes have also exponentially exploded in return. Perhaps the most obvious and popular example is Kylie Jenner from the Kardashian dynasty - the âyoungest self-made billionaireâ rakes in $180 million per year according to Forbes. In case youâre wondering how much she earns compared to her counterparts, most of them are in med-school - the young celebrity is just 22 years old.
Meanwhile in India and China, while thereâs no shortage of influencers across films, music and fashion plying their trade, the emergence of Chinese-owned
TikTok has spread the influencer bug much deeper into Indian cities and towns, amassing over 120 million users. Mr. Faisu, who we interviewed earlier in December, had close to 20 million followers before being hit with a ban for political content - a fanbase that allows him to earn an estimated 30-40 lakhs per annum. Thatâs about twice as much as that of a specialised cardiologist in India.2. CEOs
It all starts from the top, of course - most of the worldâs richest people are helming global corporations with thousands of employees. In the case of India and the United States, things already seem severely tilted, with both nations topping the ranks for CEO to the average worker ratio.
Reliance mogul Mukesh Ambani earns a staggering 48 times more than the average Indian doctor, not even counting stocks and a diverse portfolio of earnings.
When it comes to the US, things are clearer. Amazonâs Jeff Bezos makes about 14 times more than the average, fully-qualified doctor, not counting for his 16% stake in the company. Bring that into the picture, however, and Bezos earns an astounding 6 lakh times more.
According to estimates, the worldâs sports industries make up close to $500 billion - no doubt supported by the tireless athletic and marketing efforts of the worldâs biggest athletes.
Italy has been a key nation behind the dominance of football in sports today - most of the teams in Serie A pay their players between 4 to 1 million US dollars a year. Juventus, in particular, pays over twice of that with an average of 10 million, but what about Ronaldo? The legendary player pulled in a whopping $108 million in 2019 when combining both his winnings, earnings and endorsements - 805 times that of an average Italian dottore.
Things arenât that different in China - the epicentre of the worldâs viral crisis, that has major income disparity as well.
The Chinese Super League attracts worldwide talent to play for its teams and the economic powerhouse pays its players around $1 million annually - around 250 times that of the Chinese average salary.
Bring doctors into the mix along with the leagueâs wealthiest player, Brazilâs Oscar, and his heavy $25 million earnings tower in comparison to the $13,000 that Chinese docs take home each year. Thatâs a ratio of nearly 1:2000.
Leaving aside football, India (until recent years, perhaps) has considered sports synonymous with cricket, and on that spreadsheet, no one dominates the competition quite like skipper Virat Kohli. While the average IPL player nets around $5 million annually, the Indian captain pulls in $25 million per annum - making his bank accounts fill over 3000 times faster than most Indian doctors.
Unsurprisingly, both India and the United States have points to make here, with them both running the two most successful film industries in the world.
Artists, in general, see great variation in income - while struggling actors make extremely irregular annual incomes, things are very different at the other end.
Dwayne âThe Rockâ Johnson sits at the peak here, raking in close to $90 million a year. The top ten ranges anywhere from that figure to Will Smithâs $35 million, making them earn between 900 to 350 times the average American doc.
In India, the difference is truly astounding. Akshay Kumar, who also happened to be the 4th most paid actor in the world last year, raked in $65 million - close to 6.5 thousand times an Indian doctorâs takeaway even in major cities such as Mumbai.
Well, at least for the other three you have the benefit of saying theyâve earned their worth - nailing down the exact incomes of politicians turns out to be an understandably difficult affair.
In the United States, Donald Trump entered the presidency as the only billionaire in US Presidential history - in 2019, the POTUS raked in somewhere over half a billion dollars, making him at least four thousand times richer than the average doctor in the US.
In India, however, expecting a straight annual income figure for politicians is naive. On paper, for example, PM Narendra Modi, for example, has a salary of around $30,000 per annum - less than the average tier-1 city specialist earns.
If we look at the scale of major scams led by any of the many corrupt positions in our government over the years, things seem to feel a lot bleaker. Take the mid-2010s Coalgate scam, which cost the nation $33.33 billion, close to 10% the net worth of Indiaâs entire healthcare industry - thereâs no shortage of reasons to raise eyebrows at the earnings of Indian politicians.
While all these professions have their place in the society, the current pandemic is a wake-up call for many to remember just how much time, attention and money is diverted towards not so essential figures in the society. Hopefully after the crisis is averted, governments and regulatory bodies will step in to ensure that the invaluable service given by the worldâs medical professionals gets the recognition it deserves.