The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, November 25, 2005

lighting up

Depressingly often I encounter people who can't stand it when someone else has something they don't, even if they have more themselves. Upper Tax Bracketers who seem to harbour some bizarre envy of beneficiaries are a good example.

It's like there are two people standing in the dark, and then one of them lights a candle. Rather than being glad for the light, the one without the candle would rather blow the flame out so they were both in darkness.

I'd rather go and get them another candle so they had one each.

This is a rather cryptic introduction to one of the troublesome aspects of unionism. When workers who do Job A are paid more than workers in Job B (both jobs being comparable, eg police and nurses) some people would prefer that everyone come down to Job B's level. They are the ones who would rather stand in the dark.

I'm still working on how to move these people so that they are a bit more candle happy. Thoughts and comments welcome.

4 comments:

Janine said...

Aiming to increase people's candle happiness might be a little misguided...

Try instead to imagine two people seated at a table, both are given dinner, but one is also given desert. Unlike the candle, which gives light to both parties, the desert only benefits the guy who gets to eat it. If we're attempting to achieve equality then taking away the single desert would be fair. As would providing another, or even having the two share the desert, which could be quite lovely, in a lady-and-the-tramp kind of way.

Equality however might not be the outcome that is wanted in this situation. But whatever the aim is, working to make people accept a status quo that is preferential to others, and because of that is often detrimental to themselves, is not at all like teaching envious candle smotherers to love the light.

Chaucey said...

Yeah, I'm not sure that the candle analogy works, because other peoples pay really doesn't impact on other people the way a light in a dark room does.
The dessert example is good. However, I think that rather than taking away someones desert, or making them share it, they should keep what they've earnt. The person without a dessert can chose to strive harder to earn a dessert or they can chose to go without. Up to them.

Cathy Odgers said...

>>Upper Tax Bracketers who seem to harbour some bizarre envy of beneficiaries are a good example

That is easily one of the most incredibly bizarre comments I have read on a blog like..ever.

The only envy goes the other way.

Beneficiaries envy those on higher incomes and try to knock them down to the lowest common denominator. Those on higher incomes feel no envy, all they want is their hard fought for money not to be wasted on bludgers. That's not envy, it is just good common sense.

The upper income earner remember can always chcuk in their job and become a beneficiary. Easy. Funnily enough they choose not to. That's not envy.

Cheezy said...

>>I'm still working on how to move these people so that they are a bit more candle happy.

Sticking a candle up some of 'em might work.