Tuesday, 23 October 2012
The Well To Do
One, even an adult, can learn a lot from childcare. Just the other week I had a conversation with a carer at my son’s childcare that turned out to be quite illuminating.
Somehow we got to talk about teachers, and then we got to talk about the salaries teachers receive. My partner in chat was quite proud: as a senior, she reported to earn “in the fifties”, boasting that our particular childcare was a relatively high paying one. She was proud: she was making more than her partner, she told me; then again, “he’s working in manufacturing”.
With that I received a cold reminder for just how screwed up our society is and how detached people like yours truly can be from this rather messed up nature of things. I can complain about this and that but, overall, I know I am doing well: while I would like to go traveling around the world several times a year, flying first class all the way, I am not really short of any material need nor want. I took a severe paycut when I moved to Australia, but still: I am, for example, typing this on an f-ing MacBook Air!
My life has me worried so much about work, being a good parent, the latest gadgets and my best tactics for my latest Mass Effect multiplayer character that I forget what it’s like for many – the majority of people around me – that are not as privileged as I am. People whose contemplations probably do not include the virtues of the latest iPad or whether or not their new smartphone will support AirPlay.
The trouble is that too many of us happen to be as forgetful. That is exactly how we end up living in a society where the people we hand the caring of our children, our most valued “possession”, to people earning peanuts. Surely we cannot expect to get good results in return? After all, the CEO earning hundreds if not thousands what her employees do justifies it on the need to motivate her performance; assuming that is correct, we are actively demotivating carers and teachers. Not to mention nurses and many other people to whom we often owe our lives.
No, I do not think CEOs need to earn much more, if at all, than their employees. I do, however, think that inequalities in our society are one of the biggest dangers we are facing, right up there with global warming. And I think I got further evidence for the sad reality our world is ruled by an oligarchy of well to do male oldies that cares only for itself and couldn’t care less about the people that actually do the work. We, however, should be better than this.
Image by tubagooba, Creative Commons license