Waiting For "Meaningful Work" Another Great Article from Thomas Sowell

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Max E., May 29, 2012.

  1. Max E.

    Max E.

    This is another Bi-product of liberalism, when you can live on foodstamps or welfare whats the point in going out and looking for a job that you dont necessarily like. This is one of the things that disturbs me the most about what is happening with this recession, if I blew out as a trader, I would be out flipping burgers the next day to feed myself until i could find something better.

    It is simply not true that any person who is motivated to work could not find a job if they were willing to do whatever job is out there. Liberals have taught large segments of the population that it is better to live off the government, then work a job that is "beneath them."

    If I was actually hiring someone on I would be far more inclined to hire a person who had a decent job before 2009, and then put McDonalds on their resume from 2009 till now, then i would be to hire a person who had a job till 2009, then just lived off the government since then......

    'Meaningful Work'

    By Thomas Sowell

    "Education" is a word that covers a lot of very different things, from vital, life-saving medical skills to frivolous courses to absolutely counterproductive courses that fill people with a sense of grievance and entitlement, without giving them either the skills to earn a living or a realistic understanding of the world required for a citizen in a free society.

    The lack of realism among many highly educated people has been demonstrated in many ways.

    When I saw signs in Yellowstone National Park warning visitors not to get too close to a buffalo, I realized that this was a warning that no illiterate farmer of a bygone century would have needed. No one would have had to tell him not to mess with a huge animal that literally weighs a ton, and can charge at you at 30 miles an hour.

    No one would have had to tell that illiterate farmer's daughter not to stand by the side of a highway, trying to hitch a ride with strangers, as too many college girls have done, sometimes with results that ranged all the way up to their death.

    The dangers that a lack of realism can bring to many educated people are completely overshadowed by the dangers to a whole society created by the unrealistic views of the world promoted in many educational institutions.

    It was painful, for example, to see an internationally renowned scholar say that what low-income young people needed was "meaningful work." But this is a notion common among educated elites, regardless of how counterproductive its consequences may be for society at large, and for low-income youngsters especially.

    What is "meaningful work"?

    The underlying notion seems to be that it is work whose performance is satisfying or enjoyable in itself. But if that is the only kind of work that people should have to do, how is garbage to be collected, bed pans emptied in hospitals or jobs with life-threatening dangers to be performed?

    Does anyone imagine that firemen enjoy going into burning homes and buildings to rescue people trapped by the flames? That soldiers going into combat think it is fun?

    In the real world, many things are done simply because they have to be done, not because doing them brings immediate pleasure to those who do them. Some people take justifiable pride in working to take care of their families, whether or not the work itself is great.

    Some of our more Utopian intellectuals lament that many people work "just for the money." They do not like a society where A produces what B wants, simply in order that B will produce what A wants, with money being an intermediary device facilitating such exchanges.

    Some would apparently prefer a society where all-wise elites would decide what each of us "needs" or "deserves." The actual history of societies formed on that principle -- histories often stained, or even drenched, in blood -- is of little interest to those who mistake wishful thinking for idealism.

    At the very least, many intellectuals do not want the poor or the young to have to take "menial" jobs. But people who are paying their own money, as distinguished from the taxpayers' money, for someone to do a job are unlikely to part with hard cash unless that job actually needs doing, whether or not that job is called "menial" by others.

    People who lack the skills to take on more prestigious jobs can either remain idle and live as parasites on others or take the jobs for which they are currently qualified, and then move up the ladder as they acquire more experience. People who are flipping hamburgers at McDonald's on New Year's Day are seldom flipping hamburgers there when Christmas time comes.

    Those relatively few statistics that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time show them moving massively from one income bracket to another over time, starting at the bottom and moving up as they acquire skills and experience.

    Telling young people that some jobs are "menial" is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for "meaningful work" is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them.

  2. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Excellent article.

    When I graduated college in 93', I moved out to San Diego. I was chasing a girl (that ended up being a disaster, but is an entirely different story). The economy in So Cal was horrible, and I couldn't find work. I graduated with a Finance degree and a Computer Science minor. Zip, nada, nothing. So for over a year and a half I worked in bars until 2AM 3 nights a week and worked as a plumber by day - sometimes two shifts. I cleaned toilets, repaired gas lines, cleaned sewers. I came home at night with a smell that made my roommates eventually tell me I had to undress outside and bring my clothes inside in a bag.

    But I learned a trade, and I made money. My parents were pissed off at me because of the move to SD, and constantly brought up that they paid "how much for your education?" just so I could be a plumber. In the end, though, I found a job at Coca Cola (in Finance) and I could put the toilets behind me.

    It taught me the benefit of a hard day's work, not to judge anyone doing any job as beneath me, and I can handle all the plumbing issues in my house now :)
  3. Ricter


    You might have to wait a while for your burger flipping job. McDonald's last hiring day was to fill 50k positions. I think over a million applied.
  4. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    It'd be interesting to know how many of those 50,000 positions are still in place.
  5. Ricter


    Well, they are mainly seasonal positions, is that what you mean?
  6. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    I thought they were intended to be permanent. What "seasonal" business does McDonald's do?
  7. Max E.

    Max E.

    When they give a number saying they are hiring on 50k new workers , I am assuming that means they are topping up the number of net workers inside of their work force.

    Every McDonalds is constantly hiring, I know, I was a McMonkey for a year in highschool, every 2 weeks they were bringing in 2-5 new people, because of how temporary their workforce is, people are always coming and going.

  8. Ricter


    That is true, ordinarily, but nationally the so-called "quit rate" is pretty low right now. I have no doubt you'd get on eventually, but 20 to 1 cannot be waved off.
  9. Max E.

    Max E.

    Yeah, the worst place i ever worked when i was in university, and starting as a trader, i worked for this temp agency called "Labour Ready" where companies who were just looking for a worker to fill some shit job for the day would call them, and they would send someone down for the day to fill the job, and then Labour Ready would give you a check at the end of the day. It was great when you literally didnt have the money to eat, cause they would hand you a cheque at the end of the day, but the jobs you ended up going to were literally so bad that no one at the company you were being sent to would even do them, thats why they called a temp agency.....

    2 of the jobs i vividly remember one was unloading boxes of cans of tuna from a semi which was full of them all the way up to the roof and putting the boxes onto pallets in the storage facility...... By the time I unloaded the semi after 10 hours my back was shot from crawling around and moving this endless supply of 45 pound boxes.... and i was bed ridden for the rest of the weekend.....

    The other one was setting up these outdoor tents for events, and as the shit worker, I had to drive 4 foot long spikes, that they would tie the tents down with, into the ground for 10 hours with a sledge hammer, by the end of the day my forearms were so sore, i could hardly lift the sledge hammer anymore..... Gave me a whole new level of respect for farmers, or else the guys who used to drive in the rail way ties back in the day, cant imagine how hard it must be setting up a barbwire fence......
  10. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Ricter, what was the worst job you ever had to perform?
    #10     May 29, 2012