SHOULD THE PROFIT MOTIVE BE AT THE CORE OF WHAT DRIVES SOCIETY?
I’m far from convinced that the profit motive should be regarded as the driving force in our society.Certainly, we all aspire to a reasonable standard of living for both ourselves and our dependents, but that can be quite humble in material terms—and beyond that there is huge satisfaction to be gained from the work itself.
“Oh well, you’re creative,” you will say, “and couldn’t possibly understand;” but—as a practical matter—a whole slew of people, in a wide variety of walks of life, are content with a modest salary if the work drives them. Some work for non-profits, others are educators, many work for the government—and so it goes on to constitute a remarkably long list.
“But people love their private sector jobs,” I hear you cry. The evidence is, of course, to the contrary—a scarcely surprising fact given the very large number of U.S. jobs which are not rewarded by a living wage, combined with a culture which grants the worst worker rights in the developed world—from maternity leave to vacations—and where health care costs are increasingly being transferred to the worker. Beyond that, the defined pension is vanishing, private sector unions have been mostly crushed, and job security is the stuff of legend. And yet we are the richest, most powerful nation in the world!
There is palpably something wrong here.
It seems to me that we need to think about this stuff—and rebalance our culture. As matters stand, we are in moral, as well as financial, decline. And it’s a rapid process.