In the spirit of the holiday season, but keeping with my current blog obsession of economy, class struggles, and equality I'd like to post about something anecdotal, and a bit wandering.
Tonight I got to go to one of those "tours" you take through the 1800's, a Christmas themed historical story that you get to participate in. First, it's very neat, very fun, and I really get into it.
However, tonight's "theme" was Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol". While we didn't go through the story, the theme used it to create a town that was in dire economic straights, and many townspeople were relying on charity to get by this holiday season. All but one townie, who was filthy rich and stingy - just like Ebenezer Scrooge. It was the character's introduction that struck me most (paraphrasing):
"Why should those who don't want to work hard reap the benefits of those who do? Charity? Donations? How lazy! What a joke!"
It was implied later on that he went through a literal version of the Dickens story, and became a "changed man" in the end.
But it struck me as odd at just how relevant it was to what I've been discussing now for weeks. Issues of poverty, social stigmas, capitalism and class struggles. The stereotype we hear often was perpetuated again right there, even if only an act, as a similar concept in that time period.
So I'll pose this question or two, and let you mull it over for a while.
Do low wage earners "work hard"? Think of the waitress on ha double shift, or the man who has to clean the coal cars in trains, or the man who picks up your garbage, or stands for hours putting tiny machine pieces together, or the backbreaking labor and sometimes dangerous labor of labor intensive jobs.
Now think about what a CEO does, or a manager. Gladhanding, computer work, board meetings, power lunches....sometimes the occasional tough decision. Do they "work hard"?
Does the statement that those at the top deserve, or are entitled to the massive compensation they get because they work hard ring false to you?
Lemme ask you this - if a massively wealthy person is entitled to gross over compensation for working hard, then why isn't the low wage employee entitled to the same gross over compensation for working hard, if not harder?
If it's only about "hard work" as many purport, then why isn't everyone entitled to the same wages?
Just thinking out loud here....