Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Working hard

On the day that Margaret Thatcher died, I happened to be in Dulwich with a couple of hours to kill. Looking at the large houses and drives, and fancy shops, I reflected upon the idea of rewards for hard work that Thatcher preached, not unlike politicians before or since, though she was probably best known for it.

When we were children, my father worked 5 1/2 days a week to support his family. No-one can say he didn't work hard, and he was by no means the only one. Did we live in a large house in Dulwich? No, in fact my parents sold their east London 2 bedroomed terraced  house with outside toilet to the council and rented it back.

It is clear from the number of people who work hard and have very little that life's rewards are not allocated simply on the basis of hard work.

One element of the allocation "calculation" may be innate ability. Those most talented can accrue the greatest reward. This innate talent is bot something they worked for, yet the system rewards them for having it. The system, though, does not seem to allow even subsistence level of reward as everyone's birthright, as we know from the starving millions, many of whom may have remarkable talents that will never benefit anyone if the person given the talents never has an opportunity to use them, or worse still simply dies.

Those who have the most resources at their disposal must be held most responsible for those that have the least. Hard work alone is unlikely to gain you the privelege we see in the rich and powerful.

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