People understand some occupations far more easily than others. A farmer planting seeds or harvesting a crop is easily understood. A contractor building a house is easily understood. We easily understand a miner digging coal underground then bringing it up to the surface and a railway worker laying track, as we also understand a mechanic repairing a car. We get a doctor, a dentist and a factory worker. We even understand why the football hero or movie star make the big bucks. We know what all these people do in order to get paid. We understand the value they add.
In other words, we easily grasp Karl Marx’s labor theory of value. He insisted that anything involving labor is valuable and the value of a good or service is proportional to the labor involved. We might challenge Comrade Karl by pointing out that labor doesn’t seem to have much to do with it. The dentist who labored for only half an hour to end my dreadful toothache gets paid far more than the coal miner is paid for half an hour of his labor. But to give him credit, Marx would respond by explaining that the dentist labored long and hard in advance of my visit by acquiring the knowledge and skills to repair my tooth. Nonetheless, it isn’t hard to refute Marx’s views on value.