Was there ever a single word or term for those “dollar-a-year” men in WWI? 
Posted: 10 September 2012 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was reminded of One-dollar salary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia watching an old movie. (Wikipedia says WWI, The movie was about a WWII example, Netflix : About Mrs. Leslie.) Was there ever a word or an accounting term, rather the opposite of sinecure perhaps, for the “dollar-a-year” men?

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Posted: 10 September 2012 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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CEO

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Posted: 10 September 2012 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That was a joke.

There is a Japanese term, I forget what it is, for an employee who does no work, but draws a salary. Not quite the opposite of the “dollar-a-year” man, though.

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Posted: 11 September 2012 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I think you’ve misunderstood the question, which is not about the opposite of the “dollar-a-year” man but about what to call the “dollar-a-year” man (which would be in some sense “the opposite of sinecure").

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Posted: 11 September 2012 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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So I did.

I don’t think there would be a special accounting or legal term as that is precisely the point of paying them a dollar a year. The sum eliminates the need for creating a special category--they’re technically just employees like everyone else.

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Posted: 11 September 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The Japanese word I was thinking of is “madogiwazuko,” literally “window sitter,” one who is paid to stare out the window.

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Posted: 11 September 2012 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The sum eliminates the need for creating a special category--they’re technically just employees like everyone else.

Sure, but non-technically, it’s a striking situation, and it’s kind of strange there isn’t a word for it… except that, upon reflection, 1) it’s not all that common (I don’t personally know anyone in that situation), and 2) “dollar-a-year man” pretty much covers it.

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Posted: 11 September 2012 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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This post is sort of a non-answer, but here it is.

I’ve never heard the phrase or term “dollar-a-year” man before, but if I had run across it in the wild I would have assumed it referred to those public minded individuals who were donating their time for a truly nominal compensation. The law requires some exchange of value for a contract to be valid but does not enquire as to the relative value between the two sides of the exchange (except where fraud is suspected). Without some form of compensation, the individual’s contribution to the enterprise would be considered a gift, AFAIK. As a gift, it would probably have drastically different tax implications.

As Dave points out, the interpretations can be a little tricky. One can speculate all day long how much actual “donation” was involved when a person was working in a prominent or highly conspicuous position, doing actual work, all the while being seen as sacrificing his or her time. Conversely, there are those people who lend their names to a company but do nothing. And then there are the political appointees ... ugh.

The “dollar-a-year” aspect of this newer situation seems like a bastardization of an older, longer standing tradition. It also used to be fairly typical to “sell” a piece of property to a governmental agency, or between agencies, for the value of a dollar.

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Posted: 11 September 2012 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I think it’s terribly sexist ...

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Posted: 11 September 2012 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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OP Tipping - 11 September 2012 07:08 PM

I think it’s terribly sexist ...

As it was and always will be.

And I’m more tired than usual. It’s right here in the WP article:

The “dollar-a-year men” were business executives who helped the government manage the US national economy during periods of war, especially during World War I. US law forbids the government from accepting free services from anyone. Therefore, individuals who are effectively volunteering their services have to be paid a nominal salary. Typically these individuals are paid one dollar a year for their work. For example, Massachusetts Governor Alvan T. Fuller, wealthy in his own right, served in several government positions on such terms.[4]

In Canada during World War II, C.D. Howe, Canada’s “Minister of Everything”, created a rearmament program using “dollar-a-year men”.[5] An example was John Wilson McConnell, the owner and publisher of the Montreal Star, who was appointed Director of Licences for the Wartime Trade Board, a position for which he served for free.[6]

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Posted: 11 September 2012 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I think it’s terribly sexist ..

I wonder why you think so? Unless I’m much mistaken, all the “dollar-a-year men” were, actually, men: in which case, to call them “dollar-a-year women” would have been untrue, and “dollar-a-year persons” wasn’t an option in those days.The fact that they were all men --- now that’s sexist, if you like. Civilization as we know it (or think we know it) is hopelessly sexist. 6000 years of history have demonstrated conclusively that men are not competent to run the world’s affairs*, yet we keep on letting them do it - with the result that utter ruin is just around the corner for all of us.**

*One of my favorite books on this subject is the novel The Disappearance, by Philip Wylie.

** I’ve just finished re-reading A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright, a carefully reasoned study which has reinforced my worst fears.

I realize this is off-topic. My lame, schoolboy excuse is “OP Tipping started it” ;-)

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Posted: 12 September 2012 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I suppose you could call that a peppercorn salary, on the analogy of peppercorn rent. The analogy is exact: both involve a notional sum paid regularly to confer on an arrangement a legal status that would normally entail much more substantial amounts of money.

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Posted: 12 September 2012 03:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I think it’s terribly sexist ..

I wonder why you think so?

I don’t, really…

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