Austrian markets in everything, rising inequality edition

An Austrian hotel is advertising for a modern-day court fool, who is communicative, extroverted, musical, creative and imaginative.

Applicants are asked to bring — and play — their musical instrument during the job interview. Also welcome: creative costumes. The successful candidate will earn 1,400 euros — around $1,900 — a month.

Hotel director Melanie Franke says those interested should not think they’re on a fool’s errand in applying. She says the idea is to treat guests like royalty, noting that “jesters were a luxury that royal families indulged themselves in.”

Here is a little bit more.


How tacky.

At least dress them up as Mickey Mouse.

Mr Clinton plays the saxophone.

1400 euros is a really low salary. Hope it is not full time.

Did you not catch the position is for a fool?

It is close to the median salary in most of Europe.

'1400 euros is a really low salary'

Well, it does come with health care, and very likely 35 days vacation, along with a probable vacation bonus. It is also quite likely to include an employment contract regulating terminating employment, and after a sufficient period of employment, access to unemployment insurance. And if female, maternity leave for pregnancy (and if a man, also likely some form of paternity leave if the female partner becomes a mother).

Doesn't sound all that bad, to be honest - in European terms. I'll leave it up to the Americans to decide how horrible it would be for them.

I still think it needs a bigger compensating differential to cover the risk that they'll behead you if your jokes hit a little too close to home...

Probably includes a few perks such as free food but no room. It's actually better paid than their assistant cook position advertised on the homepage, and the Steyr province isn't Austria's wealthiest. Sounds more or less like a market wage.
The job ad is here by the way:

Wait a sec - turns out, Steyrians are Austria's best paid people, at least according to this:

Cue "What, [standard-bearer for my ideological enemies] isn't available?"

Since we're returning to feudalism, it makes sense to have all the trappings as well

Some hotels are killing room service, others are including a court fool. In any case, having a court fool in the lobby (or is the performance in the guest's suite?) would make less likely to choose the hotel. Are we suppose to tip the fool? As a guest, I would find the whole thing stressful, and perhaps annoying.

I like how most every job posting basically says your pay will be low, you'll be underpaid, and treated like a clown, but we want you to take your job very seriously!

The pay mentioned, 1,400 x 12 = 16,800 euros = $22,400 per year, doesn't sound like bad pay. Particularly, for a relatively low skilled profession, that can be filled by a currently unemployed youth.

Are welfare payments in Austria in the $20K per year ballpark?

Need to convert w/ purchasing power parity which is 1.2 for austria according to World Bank. Thus only about $18,650 of pre-tax purchasing power.

You forgot about the thirteenth and fourteenth monthly salary. Tips are tax free!

An online calculator gives me (assuming no children, commute or other deductions:)

total gross (bruttobrutto): 25712.96€
employer contributions: -6112.96€
gross (brutto): 19600.00€
social security: -3317.72€
income tax: -759.00€
net: 15523.28€ = 20 706.50$

I don't now what a jester makes in tips. I guess this is new terrotiory, but it is conceivable that he could rake in the dough with this gig.

On an unrelated note, an OECD study finds immigration (legal and illegal) to developed countries is a net positive to their budgets. Worth a debate, no?

I'm always reminded of the end of Back to the Future when someone posts one of these studies.

'What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes or something?"
"No, no, no, it's your kids"

Ahhh! Here come the New Goliards now!

The pay mentioned, 1,400 x 12 = 16,800 euros = $22,400 per year, doesn’t sound like bad pay. Particularly, for a relatively low skilled profession, that can be filled by a currently unemployed youth.

It doesn't seem that low skilled to me. It requires instrumental and (presumably) singing ability, costumes, verbal wit ... Plus, the purchasing power of the Euro is closer to parity with the dollar than to a 30% premium. In Germany, Hartz IV (welfare) plus a minijob brings you to 1200 euros/month, and nobody gets to throw rotten fruit at your head.

The tradeoff is obviously different if the position includes room and board, but 1400 euros a month isn't much.

Well, that depends if you're talking about skills generally or skills with high demand in the economy. If you mean the former, then yes, the person will have to be very skilled. If you mean the latter, then not so much.

'In Germany, Hartz IV (welfare) plus a minijob brings you to 1200 euros/month'

That is wrong - a minijob can be a maximum of 450 euros (German link - ) and Hartz IV was just raised a massive 8 euros to 382.00 euro a month at the most ( ).

In other words, 883 euros a month.

... 883 Euros plus rent for a room or small apartment.

1400 Euros is very little for a full-time job. Median in Austria is 2000.

Yes, I did leave out a Sozialwöhnung, not to mention health care, not to mention Kindergeld (which would apply in most cases of that highest Hartz IV rate).

However, a Sozialwöhnung does not represent a fixed sum paid to the person living in it, nor is it income, nor is it actually related to Hartz IV - I've known full time working mothers with a Sozialwöhnung.

'1400 Euros is very little for a full-time job'

And yet, that is what a significant number of Germans get paid - but then, Germany apparently has Europe's largest number of 'low wage' workers.

As I mentioned above, you guys completely forgot about tips. Those are tax free in Austria.

This is not so different from Cuervo Man, the itinerant foole (of sorts) who travels (travelled?) around the country embodying the spirit of Jose Cuervo at parties, which involved things like wearing a toilet seat as a necklace and a plunger as a helmet.

See This American Life episode "Plan B" for more on that.

Jesters need to be careful what they make fun of:,17495/

Plus, it can be a tough and demanding job, depending on who's hiring:

I'm starting to see Human Signs back on the streets of California. They were the epitome of the unbalanced economy of the subprime bubble years -- the 6% realtor commission on the median $500,000 California home came to $30,000, and there were a lot of unemployed and underemployed people to be hired to jiggle "Open House" signs on street corners. Here's my 2005 article on the "Human Sign Economy:"

Not surprisingly, it all ended in tears.

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