Now, I've got a small pamphlet on this theme, available for free download and free reproduction, but the debate got me thinking.
What, really, is the difference between a "social-justice" type who spends a couple of years in the Peace Corps, or who sends money overseas to help the poor and the CEOs of major corporations who send jobs overseas?
I mean, the "social-justice" types are always catewauling about how we should pay higher taxes in order to help the poor. But a lot of them seem upset that CEOs are sending jobs overseas.
Now, isn't the sending of a job overseas simply the imposition of a kind of tax?
I mean, what's the difference between the government taking half my salary in order to send it overseas and the CEO moving my job overseas?
Well, there is one difference.
The poor person overseas who gets the new job will probably start thinking of himself in a much different way than the poor person overseas who just gets a handout.
The one with a job begins to think he actually has self-worth, that he is actually contributing to society. He is actively supporting himself and his (perhaps extended) family. He might begin to consider that if he's worth something, he might have intrinsic rights that others don't have a right to quash or infringe on.
The person who just gets a handout doesn't have any of these thoughts.
Now, obviously the CEO does all this in order to be mean, and to increase his own profit margin.
But, isn't it the case that a lot of people involved in "social justice" do it in order to feel superior to the down-trodden? Don't they do it because the very fact that they are the "helper" and not the "helpee" necessarily makes them better than all those dark-skinned, infantile foreigners who could never make it without the help of the "social justice" type?
So, how much social justice is driven by "the white man's burden" concept Kipling so succinctly described?
The Peace Corps workers, the UN workers, steal jobs from the locals, the CEOs send jobs to the locals. I lose my job to a computer or an overseas worker - to me, it matters not which. Either way, I have to re-train in some other field.
If I am against shipping jobs overseas, then am I against technology in the workplace?
For a computer can often take my job at least as effectively as an Indonesian.
Forty years ago, we were angry at computers for taking jobs.
We got over it.
Why are we still angry at CEOs and Indonesians?
Why do we like the Peace Corps and higher taxes, which steal jobs and take my money, but get angry with CEOs, who move jobs and take my money?
Perhaps its because we can retrain for a new job, start earning again and keep our self-esteem, but we can't escape taxes except by losing our income and our self-esteem.
Peace Corps workers don't do things for money, don'cha know.
CEOs do things for money.
Yes, but if money is not meant to be the measure of our society, why are the Peace Corps workers so upset about what the CEO does for money? Wouldn't noticing that kind of thing be beneath them? By fixating on it, don't they just reinforce the idea that it really is all about the money?
Or is it more simple?
Perhaps Peace Corps workers just don't like the competition that CEOs present.