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May 16, 1931


Author Affiliations

Director, Bureau of Medical Economics, American Medical Association CHICAGO

JAMA. 1931;96(20):1683-1691. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.27220460004008

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Perhaps, as he wrote the letter to Timothy in the first century A. D., Paul voiced a keen appreciation of the social and economic stress of the times when he said "the laborer is worthy of his hire." It may not be unreasonable to interpret this phrase as implying also a relative scale of values as applied to various types of service.

It is not possible in a brief statement to trace accurately through the centuries all the influences that have contributed to the present economic system, and although much of the early information on economics pertains to society at large and the lavish expenditures on wars, and certain public improvements achieved by unpaid slave labor, yet it is possible to catch a glimpse of some of the economic peaks and canyons of our early professional confrères.

A few examples of physicians' fees and incomes may be given to show

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