CUTTING ROOM: Pity the poor dancers; what the wind-up of Railtrack really means; a strange summary of America's achievements; Finland's finesse ... Evan Davis at large

CUTTING ROOM: Pity the poor dancers; what the wind-up of Railtrack really means; a strange summary of America's achievements; Finland's finesse ... Evan Davis at large - How glamorous the life of a broadcast journalist can be. I've just been talking at a

by EVAN DAVIS, economics editor, BBC

How glamorous the life of a broadcast journalist can be. I've just been talking at a conference of professional dancers, and what a pleasant relief it provided from the usual audience of grey-suited business people. The dancers wanted an economist to explain why they're paid as badly as they are. (Sponsors please take note that, despite their skills, dedication and training, they probably earn less than pounds 15,000 a year.)

I know little about dancing, and what I do know is unreliable, since it comes from the movie Billy Elliot. But I was surprised to discover how little I understood about earnings as well.

You see, I thought the reason for dancers' low pay is that they do a job they like and can wear outlandish clothes and so do not have to be compensated for the daily drudge of work that most of us do. But there's a flaw in this explanation - in most professions, it is the people with the best jobs who get paid the most. Dancers seem to be the exception.

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