How come we don't value work as a society

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by thermodynamic, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    but then blame people for being lazy?

    We "value" end products, in the form of reducing prices to antagonize competition with to create a cycle that becomes unsustainable... yet we also say "competition is good" despite the free market forces that seem to dislike competition. Almost sounds Orwellian, that...
     
  2. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #2
    America is the country that works more without a break than any other 1st world nation, without guaranteed paid vacation or sick leave, or maternity/paternity leave.

    If anything I'd say we as a society put living to work above all else, health, family, and society itself included.
     
  3. Scepticalscribe, Oct 27, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #3
    I think your society values wealth, and profits, but not actual work.

    Work conditions would not be so wretched - such as no sick leave, or maternity/paternity leave, little vacation leave - if you actually valued work.

    Moreover, while corporations bleat about competition, they only believe in that as long as their own share of the market place is something they have to fight for.

    Once a corporation comes to hold a dominant - or dominating - position in - or percentage of - a market place, their stance on 'competition' can change quite drastically.
     
  4. samcraig macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #4
    I'm not sure I agree with your hypothesis/assertion.
     
  5. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    It's not that we don't value work, it's that we're seriously spoiled and we don't want to work anymore to reap the fruits of our work. In other words, we are ignorant of the natural process that in order to obtain something you need to do something of similar effort (more or less).
    When I bring my teenager to school I see a plethora of 16yo kids with cars that I wouldn't consider even now. All with iPhones, all with expensive clothing. I am sorry, but there is no way that so many kids work to get so many expensive stuff. Worse than all? When I drive by the "poorest" high-school in my city, I see a similar panorama.
    Add the "a medal for all" "everyone is a winner" mentality, and that's recipe for trouble.

    I can still hear my grandparents complaining about me wasting food. I guess that living under Mussolini left a scar for them.
     
  6. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #6
    How can you make these claims when the numbers show that Americans work more than any other developed nation, for less personal life balance and benefits?

    I'm always amazed at how people can point to consumer items, which are cheaper than ever in history, as somehow offsetting that every basic necessity of life is more expensive now than they have been in decades in this country.

    Again we turn back to your habit of looking down on others.
     
  7. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
    Because, as I said, it's a mindset that refutes the natural state of things.
    You were talking about values, which is different than numbers. It doesn't matter how many hours you work, if you do it because you have to pay for the expensive toy, then your values are not going change. Actually, I think that the fact that we refuse to acknowledge how things really work causes us to work more because we're less efficient in general (including mindset). Some people work three jobs because they have to... in order to buy the iPhone. When you see a $7/hr cashier with an iPhone 7+, you also see the problem. That person will inevitably complain that he/she has to work three jobs.
    Someone else who's able to work 25 hours a week, but in those 25hours he/she is actually working to build something, has much better values and will inevitably be wealthier. They see that work is to reap fruits that can be reutilized. They don't work for toys (something I am certainly guilty of). And guess what, they're happy for it. That's why some people can't understand why "Warren Buffet doesn't retire?"
     
  8. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #8
    Have you ever met a single person that was working an extra job to buy a phone....or perhaps it's to pay for the ****ing roof over their head. :rolleyes:

    I have to ask, have you worked in the service industry at all in the last 10 years? You speak like someone who hasn't been close to poverty in decades.
     
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    How many days holiday do you take a year? I take 35 and never work weekends and I'm a hard working anglosaxon.
     
  10. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    I am talking in general, the iPhone thing is an example. I have been close to poverty since 2013, although it's a different kind of poverty (mostly homeless and long term unemployed).

    At this point I am not even sure what argument you're trying to make. That a lot of poor people work like crazy? heck yeah. I never said the opposite. Your original question was a very generic question of our philosophy of life and its relationship to work. You also brought out the point that most Americans work like crazy (true) while they seem not to value work.
    Being work different than a job, what I say is still true (yet, a necessary oversimplification given the topic).


    @Eraserhead given my gov't job, I never work on weekends. As for holiday/vacation... not nearly enough.
     
  11. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #11
    I don't understand the "not valuing" work part you're referring to. Culturally we seem to care about little else. When meeting new people one of the first things discussed is always someones profession. We work through birthdays, major life events, etc. We don't even have the ability to declare the national day of voting as a work holiday.

    So again I have to ask, if working nonstop is the American way....how is that not valuing work above almost all else?

    Perhaps its a phrasing thing I'm not getting here but I really don't get it.
     
  12. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    Most of us "work to pay the bills", not to build something (call it a work legacy?). And we often want stuff now.
    Having jobs that make you work is the American way, which is different from "working nonstop". We see working (in this case having a job) as a necessity; a need. When you value something, you do it because you see the intrinsic value of it.
     
  13. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #13
    Ah, that's a great way of putting it.
     
  14. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    All Your Memes Are Belong to US
    #14
    Nope. I've seen people with smartphones including iPhones at the checkout paying with EBT though.
     
  15. Scepticalscribe, Oct 27, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #15
    Um, @yaxomoxay, - on one level - I agree with you. And, on another, I don't.

    I concur with you on the issue of values promoted by our society: And share a sort of glorious zen which deplores and despairs of the kind of society where material goods are valued, while vital but necessary - yet highly unfashionable - work (manufacturing, caring, - and public service stuff such as teaching, nursing, police), are not.

    So, yes, on one level, I do agree with you about 'kids with iPhones'.

    However, the sad but unpalatable truth of the matter is that the world has changed, and, if you live in a society and world where you are valued for what you have - rather than who you are - where this is reinforced by ceaseless and powerful advertising and marketing - and where social death awaits you as a teenager if you don't have these toys (I am so glad I am not a teenager - I hated it enough when I was), then, it is inevitable that kids will want - and - worse - need - stuff such as iPhones.

    These are the values promoted by the wider society and reinforced by marketing; more to the point, as @NT1440 has pointed out, consumer items are now cheaper (and better) than ever, - in fact, the demand for them drives economies, and the demand for them defines much of social life and personal identity (yes, unfortunate, but that is the world of some youngsters).

    However, I also agree with @NT1440 that it is the height of condescension to suggest that those less well off should not aspire to wish to own these objects.

    The question of values of a society goes far deeper than this, and corporations should be held to account for the wanton destruction they have done to the social and cultural - let alone the economic - fabric of this country - and many others - over the past thirty plus years.
     
  16. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #16
    Yea...functioning in the modern world, including getting a job in the first place, means that phones are a defacto necessity in today's job market. One of my friends has the responsibility of interviewing potential hires for the retail store she works at. They won't even call you for an interview if you don't list a cell phone because the service industry relies on "just in time" scheduling.

    The fact that you have an iPhone doesn't make a difference. Phones are the main computing device more most people these days, it's not an astronomical monthly difference between getting an iPhone in the US vs anything else.
     
  17. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    All Your Memes Are Belong to US
    #17
    Flip phones cost less and their plans are typically cheaper than smart phones. It shows where the person priorities lay. Smartphone vs flip phone. Why drop the flip phone when Uncle Sugar will hook me up with food stamps. Work is for suckers.
     
  18. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #18
    Very elegantly put. Remember that advertising is the very act of generating want, and no one is immune to it.

    So perhaps we should reinstate some of the laws regarding marketing to children? I've seen drug commercials clearly designed, using cartoon wolves, to instill fear of losing their grandparents as a nudge to get the kid to bring it up with their grandparent with COPD. It's shameful, and it's sophisticated.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 27, 2016 ---
    We get it, you hate poor people and think they should live beneath the "luxuries" you can afford for a measly $20 a month more.

    Your disdain is palpable.
     
  19. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    All Your Memes Are Belong to US
    #19
    Are they paying it with $20 they were earned or given via government theft?
     
  20. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #20
    Again, we get it, you hate the poor. The fact that you view this societies pathetic levels of safety nets as theft really speaks volumes. You're losing literally thousands a year in tax dollars to corporate subsidies but would rather direct your focus to the ~$30 you pay for the safety net.

    I'd straighten out my priorities and focus on where the real theft is if I were you. Or, you know, keep being a curmudgeon.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #21
    Thank you.

    Agreed.

    Actually, such sentiments as were expressed by @DrewDaHilp1 are not just articulating disdain, and contempt, but falling not far short of advocating punishment and further penalties - the penalties that attach to being poor - for the poor.

    As you have already so rightly pointed out, these phones are - unfortunately - increasingly a necessity in today's world.

    To curtail access to such communication networks - an access that is a necessity and not a luxury - is to further penalise the already deprived of greater access to networks and possible opportunities, employment as well as social.
     
  22. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    All Your Memes Are Belong to US
    #22
    It's cool I hate them just as much.
     
  23. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #23
    Let me start from the last point you make. I make no suggestion that those with less should not aspire to own an iPhone. I used that as a mere example that even those who could and should make different choices sometimes confuse need with want - and it's often in good faith. Sometimes the fact that you have a job, is not enough. Can someone with a $7/hr job hold off a little on buying the 7+ and settle for a SE or a used 5S while using the difference for a county college class that in the long term will help rise the salary? All this is purely functional analysis, which is NOT the initial question.

    Our friend @NT1440 initially asked about values, and I replied talking about values.
    It's a deep philosophical question, which touches history, economics, psychology and maybe even theology. We (and I include even myself, even if in the past year I flipped flopped my thinking) often use a job to pay bills. That's what we do, at least most of us. Ask how many would stop working if they could get a decent fixed income, and the majority of people will answer in the affirmative.
    The value of Work is NOT paying the bills. The value of work is a complex relationship with the natural state. It's doing something towards a better society. It's the sense of mission, the final purpose. That's why enlightened people like Bill Gates can't stop using their work for the better.
    Let me quote someone you might not like, Josemaria Escriva:"All men, all women — not only those who are poor in a material sense — have an obligation to work. Wealth and abundance of economic means only increase one’s obligation to feel responsible for the whole of society."

    You point out to a very good subject when you mention the role of advertisement. Good insight. I agree, advertisement is pushing the shift of our values. Having an iPhone is a must etc. But that's where I think that both parenting and educators (you!) come in play; and that's why in my initial post I mentioned the "everybody is a winner" mentality and the fact that kids at 16 here in the US drive $40K pickups to school. It shows lack of education on values etc, probably because with all the problems of our age, we're still better off than any other generation that ever lived.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe, Oct 27, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #24
    I'm not in disagreement with everything you write @yaxomoxay - or even most of it.

    But I think for once - and I am not remotely sentimental about youngsters - I cannot abide mental laziness or an unwillingness to want to learn, think and study - the kid with - or who wants - an iPhone is the wrong target for one's ire on this topic. The kid is a symptom, not a cause, and to start with them is to miss the point, and perhaps, penalise someone who actually needs that phone for reasons of networks, sense of self, and possible life chances.

    Let us not forget that Mohammad Younus pioneered stupendously successful - and highly profitable, for lenders and borrowers both - initiatives in the field of micro-credit by enabling women (who were generally denied access to any sort of credit in much of the Third World) access to mobile phones.

    Over the past thirty plus years, the US has made - or been persuaded to take - a series of choices that have transformed the social fabric of the country, choices which have not been subject to sufficient scrutiny or oversight.

    The wider issue of a world of demand generated by saturation advertising and marketing - where one is increasingly defined by what you have rather than who you are (and many of the threads on this very forum illustrate these specific priorities all too readily), that, along with the deliberate and almost complete destruction of the old working class and the protections, safety nets, social respect, and economic security that used to be a part of that old working class underpinned by the industries that sustained them - are the sort of issues that require closer examination.
     
  25. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #25
    Clearly not, when the ratio is upwards of 300:1 corporate to personal subsidies yet you harp on the people. That's like complaining about a splinter while you're being whacked over the head by a 2x4.
     

Share This Page