Work Ethic

Bankside has just babbled a bit on work ethic.  Dave’s sort of right, but my critical eye is disturbed easily on stuff like this.  I always wonder how any system can be good when it actually produces dross, and further than this, why we never seem to face up properly to real criticism.  You could perhaps imagine Dave and I arguing about this as we shared a spade job, say, digging footings or the like.  We’d just do it and the work would be about 50-50 from either of us.  Expand this to 6 random people and you soon find the slacker instinct.  If you put 6 undergraduates together in a group, 2 to 4 of them will slack.  I’v e run piecework and bonus schemes and have some amazing tales of slacking and favouritism in such schemes.

Monkeys work for peanuts, but not once they see other monkeys getting grapes.  Human work is bound to be constrained in some degree by the vast unfairness of Rooney and bwanker wages.  Not just this, but more locally someone always seems to get the easier work.  And then the boss bollocks you because he doesn’t see you working your socks off, but does see the idle sod who carries paper up and down corridors in pretence of work.

I know Dave would know this and more – but at the root of work ethic is religion and that usually means ‘bad’.  Animals don’t work hard and this includes the ‘busy bee’ – bees really spend most of their time incumbent.

Most animals try to be efficient, almost in order to have ‘time off’.  I see no reason to have any faith in a system that doles out money in shed loads to the likes of Rooney or bwankers.  I’ll swindle that system at the drop of a hat – which is because I’m honest and have values.  Digging footings with a mate and I wouldn’t more than dream of slacking – and even more, if I saw him flagging, I’d probably try to put extra in to help out.

What the Rooney and bwanker money-grabbing tells us (as should just how much richer the rich have got since WW2 – or should that be in and after?) is that economics doesn’t work and we should change it.  This either means something global or new forms of local economic transfer (which now could easily be global) that leave Rooney and bwankers outside of what we do.  This would be in order to have meaningful ethics that don’t leave you looking like a gullible prat.

The vast majority of ‘work done‘ is meaningless and does not contribute to lives worth living.  People liver in grim crap all over (literally in India etc.) under all kinds of ethics (caste systems) – so why should we be so much different.  We are trapped in notions of what we think is right as surely as ‘rat people’ (India’s lowest caste) or the arses who see themselves as superior.  If we ‘make things fair’ (decent pay for a decent day’s work), what do we do next as humans strive for … and that’s why I’m interested.  What might we be if we weren’t wrapped up in current fantasies?

We need to shift world-views – but remember these are in individuals.  People aren’t happy as a result of winning lotteries, yet most of us dream we would be.  Marx wasn’t the first to notice that we end up alienated from our work and what’s more alienating than that pain in the back just as you realise Rooney gets more than you are all year for one misplaced pass?  Still (fact), we can get more satisfaction and happiness from joining a gardening club or such, than he ever will.

Big questions:

1. How much ‘work’ does the world need from each of us in order that we all eat, have water, shelter and whatever should replace ejukation?

2. How do we share this out?

3. What extra can be done?

4.How do we have a means of exchange that no one can cheat?

5. What else other than ‘work’ might come about?  What might disappear (try to imagine prostitution without poverty etc.)?

6. What ethics arise in such a system and against what ‘base’?

We aren’t doing much of the above, but there is some going on.  Mostly we are moving to war.  I suspect there will be a grab for middle eastern oil and African land and minerals.  We may almost be back to 1900 with US, EU, Japan and Russia at China’s door (WW1) and with the inflation that led to WW2.  The new wars will likely be genocides and colonisations.  Money wants them, whatever money is; and we are in wars.  In the last century the bullies eventually turned on each other, but not until after many meetings to carve up the rest of the world (Berlin 1861 was a classic).

I mention war because what happens to work ethic in it?  One might as well ask what is happening now to out pensions and savings and who is stealing them – because they are being stolen.  I only end up in a question, which is what is ‘work ethic’?  I know what it is when I’m turning over a spade with a mate.  I have less clue once I’m being paid because I need money to live, with Rooney and the work-shy on my back.

People have trouble with argument that challenges values – but this is what we need more of.  There are snags – and one of these is that human beings in general are unbelievably stupid and facts actually backfire in them, making them believe what they held before receiving the facts more strongly than before.  This is called the ‘backfire effect’.  Any ethic based in a networking of such dolts seems unlikely to be right or even for this to matter!

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