Some thoughts from Marcel on what passes for employment these days:
Ideally, each of us would do honest work that needed to be done, and would earn enough at it to raise a family. (See Good Work and Good Works, by C.S. Lewis.) But just as we don’t have smallpox anymore, we don’t live in a rural village anymore, and we aren’t born into our father’s trade (lucky me). The work that needs to be done is more complex and varied than farming and smithing. Nobody’s grandfather was a Java programmer. The market is the best mechanism we’ve found to connect people who need work with work that needs to be done. Central planning doesn’t work, and leads to repression, misery, corruption, and death.
Then again, you can have that without central planning:
Rational profit maximization isn’t some kind of universal human paradigm. Doctors who are in it for the money should go do something else. Lawyers should go do something else. Teachers shouldn’t be compensated for teaching, they should be paid so they can teach. If you’re so miserable teaching you have to be compensated for it, or if you’re only doing it for the money, go and be a prison guard like everyone else. What? Oh, right. Never mind.
I don’t know anybody who teaches just for the money: the big bucks, of course, come in administration. On the other hand, I can think of lots of lawyers who should go do something else, just on general principle.
A lot of work that’s done for big profits shouldn’t be done at all. I’ve heard the US is the largest producer and exporter of pornography.
And the Department of Labor is doing its damnedest to keep it that way.
Besides the pornographers there are way too many lawyers (that juxtaposition is just a coincidence of course). It strikes me that our nation would be better off if Harvard suspended all admissions for twenty years. Most lawyers and financiers are simply parasites, doing no productive work themselves, interfering with those who are trying to accomplish something, and using their position and education to enrich themselves. That ambulance chasing or the more arcane forms of arbitrage are market-based makes the practitioners no less contemptible, but of course these creatures are long since dead to shame, and everybody takes their money and shakes their hands just as if they were honorable men. The idea of anyone being unable to appear in society out of shame for his conduct is incomprehensible today.
My lawyer did lots of productive work this year, and I have the bills to prove it. On the other hand, he’s not in Washington.
I concede, however, that there’s something disquieting about the remarkable ability of these folks to replicate themselves endlessly, when what we really need is someone to fix the air conditioner.
And we’ve been in the Post-Shame Era for several decades now, with no signs of anything resembling emergence. Then again, the parasite never, ever apologizes to the host.