Website owner:  James Miller

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Jobs and social justice

   Finding a job is like finding a chair in the game of musical 
       chairs.  If you are one of those that winds up without a 
       chair you are out in the cold in a cold, cold world.  If 
       you have a job you are safe and secure inside where it is 
       warm and there is lots to eat; if you don't have a job you 
       are on the outside and can easily starve and freeze to 

   On many jobs, once you have them, you can get away with doing 
       remarkably little work.  On some, in fact, you can go for 
       long periods doing absolutely nothing at all.  And, often, 
       those jobs in which people are sitting around doing little 
       or nothing are the ones that pay the most money. 

   The key to many jobs is a little piece of paper: a diploma in 
       some specialized field. 

   It does seem very perverted and wrong that one person can sit 
       around doing nothing all of his life, draw a big salary, 
       and have every comfort and amenity while another person is 
       homeless, can't get a job, and lives out his life hounded 
       by hunger and cold.  One has to wonder if a system couldn't 
       be devised that would be fairer. 

   There is a strong perversity in the way things work in this 
       world.  They never seem to work in the way an idealist 
       would feel they should work.  This has always been true all 
       through the ages.  There has always been the rich and the 
       poor, the lucky and the unlucky.  

   In the past there has usually been, in most societies, a small 
       privileged class of rich people while the masses have been 
       poor.  In many societies of the past there have been large 
       classes of slaves.  The rule was a few lucky ones and many 
       unlucky ones.  What decided your place in society was where 
       you were born.  A few were lucky enough to be born rich.  
       Most were unlucky enough to be born poor --- and quite 
       possibly slaves. 

   Birth still determines a person's luck.  If you are born the 
       child of a poor couple in Africa, India, China or Latin 
       America you are unlucky.  If you are born the child of a 
       middle class couple in America, Sweden, or Germany you are 
       lucky in the sense that at least there are opportunities 
       available to you:  you have a chance for a good life if you 
       make good use of your opportunities. 

   Something amazing has happened in the last hundred years in 
       certain parts of the world, especially America.  Whereas 
       the rule has been, for thousands of years (all of man's 
       long history), that the masses have been poor (living hard, 
       difficult lives) in the last hundred years (due to the 
       benefits of science, technology and invention) the masses 
       have actually become like the rich of old, leading 
       relatively easy, comfortable lives.  The living standards 
       of the masses have been raised by science and technology to 
       an astonishingly high level.  It is a process that has 
       occurred in America and many countries of western Europe 
       and is also occurring in most of the countries of the rest 
       of the world as they pursue the ideas and knowledge of the 
       West.  So, in for example America, one can say there are 
       many lucky and a few unlucky.  Quite a turnaround from the 
       "few lucky, many unlucky" rule of past ages.

   Apr 1989

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