Thursday, February 17, 2011

Value of Work

Think about the basic needs of human existence: water, food, clothing, shelter, and love. Now, think about the people who provide those necessities of life in modern times. Think about the people who make sure you have a reliable, clean supply of water; the people who grow, harvest, and even cook your food; the people who sew your clothing; the people who build and maintain your house; and the people in your life who provide love and care for you: your family, your children’s teachers and caregivers, a nurse at the hospital. I could go on. The point is how many of those people make a six figure income? How many of them even make a livable wage?
Now shake that out of your head. Think of the people you know who make a very good living now. In my experience, I can think of consultants whose billing rates exceed $250/hour, lawyers, and financial executives.

This society seriously undervalues the essential important work of life and overvalues those things that provide very little comparable value. What would society look like if we placed an economic value on the truly important things? Would the people picking tomatoes in the fields be earning the equivalent of what an investment banker brings in? Would preschool teachers who care for some of the youngest most impressionable members of society be esteemed like cardiac surgeons?

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