Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Does anyone disagree with any of this?

Blogging is dead. This one is still dying, slowly. I’ve got a day off and a bit of time to myself for a change.

So, returning to a theme....

How do we do things so that they’re done efficiently and fairly while going with the grain of humanity? We all want good products and services (and we’d probably call them something less commodified than ‘goods and services’).

We want to enjoy making them where possible and we want to have fair access to them once they’re made. Where production is actually enjoyable, or where it confers an elevated social status, we want access to these professions opened out to everyone. It’s both fair and efficient that way.

Of course we want people who make a greater contribution to production to be rewarded where there is any need for either unattractive work or sacrifice, or where we all benefit from the application of a particular ingenuity, aptitude or accumulated experience. We can argue about the proportions that this rewards should take – it can range from an hon-mench on the ‘employee of the month’ board through to a glittering mansion on the hill with all of the attendant yachts and Aston Martins. That would seem to be a legitimate area for political disagreement.

Similarly, if incentives make life better for us all, then we need incentives. In addition, I can’t see any problem with making access to the goods and services conditional upon a willingness to co-operate in the processes that produce them.

This also seems to be a legitimate area for political disagreement. That debate can ask what should happen if someone unreasonably refuses to attend education or training, refuses to turn up to work, refuses to learn the language needed to gain employment or to behave in a way conducive to production, and so on. Who makes judgements on this sort of thing? And what sanctions do ‘we’ apply to ‘them’? Do we starve them? Do we limit their choices?

Do we deprive them of social status, or do we just sigh and blame ourselves for not being ingenious enough to include them in the paradise we've built for ourselves?

Lastly, we want all of this to produce a bearable social environment for us to live in. We want to live and we want to love.

Obviously, we don’t want all of this efficiency and fairness to result in exhaustion or injury for ourselves. We want to be respected as people and we want our contribution to be valued. An absence of war and discrimination are the essential elements.

We also want it all to be sustainable so that we’re not enjoying the fruits of our labour in some toxic swamp or in retreat from rising sea-levels. We want to benefit from this efficient economy. We want convenience and a bit of diversity in our lifestyle. We have our families and our heritage – our identities, interests and friends.

Wherever possible, we want this pursuit of efficiency to use any synergies that are on offer. If you really like trains, being a train-driver should be an option. Leaving aside the two sliding scales here (reward and sanction – both of which probably come from our definition of fairness) on which we all have an opinion, is there anyone reading this who disagrees with anything in this post?

I ask, because listening to people arguing about politics, it seems to me that a lot of people are straining to disagree with bits of this without actually saying so.