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Daniel Boyd

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Educated people should not consider themselves too good for unskilled labour

In Western society we all have the privilege of extensive education in which we have the freedom to choose a direction of our own interest. If work is subsequently available in this area, it is obviously an optimal use of human capital for trained people to do what they are trained for.

On the other hand, maintenance of the comfortable, clean and safe society we live in requires a fair amount of unskilled labour.

The question is what should happen when trained people cannot find a job in their chosen vocation: in other words, society does not need them in this role at this time. Do they have a right to expect unemployment benefits while waiting for a 'suitable' job to arise? Or should they be expected to contribute something to the maintenance of society (in the form of unskilled labour) in return for their own maintenance?

In other words, should unemployment benefits be coupled to community services?


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    Nov 7 2013: I think Colleen is very right. I have what many may consider a world class education but lived in situations where an illiterate day-laborer bit me hands down in simple survival necessities. In think every society spends a lot to produce educated specialists. If the cost of maintaining them in unemployed conditions is further added that will be irrational.

    I find our education systems at fault to an extent too. The terms like 'white collar jobs' or 'menial jobs' are results of an elitist position of the educated. A lot of sexist attitudes also result out of our education systems. I remember my 15 year old son moving around with a button less shirt. When asked why he didn't sew a button into it, his reply was that it was a sissy job.

    The amount of money, time and resources we spend in gyms can be replaced by healthy lobor by all able bodied men and women and that can generate an useful human capital. The educated people are supposed to understand that.
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      Nov 7 2013: Good points Pabitra, and I totally agree that the time and resources spent in gyms, and driving to gyms could be used to do some work (like gardening) that would give us the same benefit.....AND....provide our food....or at least some of it:>)

      I've had people come through the gardens and say.....wow....look at all the work! Well...yeah....that is part of my exercise, and it's part of living sustainably. The gardens are good for the environment and good for my health in many ways. I LIKE physical labor! I also paint the house, do a little carpentry, etc.

      My kids both have known how to use the sewing machine since they were little....it was fun for them. My son went out west to ski after graduation from university and was looking for a temporary job, while he was a ski bum:>) He applied to be a manager of a condo complex, and the application asked for his experience in that area. He put the truth.....he'd been working with his mom for 20 years on the apartment buildings we owned. When there were renovations needed, I often took the kids with me to help. Give a couple kids hammers, and they can take a wall down pretty fast!!! LOL:>) Then, of course, they learn how to put it back up.....more skills:>)

      I think educated people DO understand, and it's a preference....is it not?
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        Nov 8 2013: Ha, I'm doing my garden AND the gym, What about that ? ;-)

        Btw, for those who don't know Colleen's garden, it's gorgeous !!!

        Fun aside, living in Mexico the situation is different. Here you really have rich vs. poor. Rich or even middle class families have their domestic servants and it's very common for those people that they don't know such simple things like sewing on a button or getting their hands dirty in the garden.
        Me doing garden work, usually raises eyebrows here because people don't understand why I don't just hire somebody for it.
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          Nov 8 2013: I think you are probably superman Harald! I don't have anything against going to a gym....it just has never worked for me....my preference....my reality:>)

          I have a few friends living in Mexico who I've visited, and I understand what you're saying.....help is so inexpensive and common there it seems like the thing to do.

          Thank you for your kind words about the gardens. Unfortunately, they have been a wee bit neglected for the past couple years. Everything is still there and flourishing, and so are the weeds!!! I've had 3 brothers who have been ill...one died last January, so my energy and attention have been with them a lot of the time rather than the gardens.

          That is another example of something we can hire....caregiving....and we (my family) have had some help from home health agencies and visiting nurses. I like spending time with my brothers, so the gardens are challenged. There is a time for everything, and at this stage of our lives, the brothers are needing my time and energy more than the gardens:>)
      • Nov 9 2013: "Working out" is for people who don't have enough chores.
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      Nov 7 2013: I guess a lot of the elitism is a simple consequence of tha fact that people with a particular specific skill are scarcer and therefore market forces push up their price. If they are then given work to do that does not require specific skills it will pay less and probably not support the life style they are used to. On the other hand, even a scarce resource has little value if no-one wants it, so having a specific skill cannot be a guarantee for success.
    • Nov 9 2013: If we have produced a large excess of "educated specialists", we obviously do not need them as much as we make them, so far fewer tax dollars can be thrown away in producing more of them.

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