A PC Satire, with Elements of Truth, on Employment
A Discriminatory Employment Offering
The other day, as I was walking to work in a Latin American country, to be left unnamed – to protect the innocent – I saw a sign which read, “Islander Barber Wanted”. Now, the Spanish for “Islander” was written as in English, which might be beside the point, but the issue at hand is, that the sign clearly seems to violate the rules about discrimination in the job market. I also hasten to add, that “Islander” stands for a dweller in a specific place, which is not to be discriminated against, and it might just as well be that I was on the island, and the word was “Mainlander”. Alphabetical order gets precedence, and whatever the situation, “the grass is always greener on the other side”.
Islander hairstyling is not a matter of cutting hair, but of corn-rowing, beading, leaving misterious signs in the hair. It shows the brotherhood to which one belongs, but I cannot vouch that these styles are not used by others. I have heard it said by a neighbour, that Islanders cannot treat the hair of the Mainlander population, because it has the wrong structure.
Had I been in the job-market for a position as a barber, I would have had the opportunity to protest to the local quasi-government agency against discrimination of all forms; which, as some readers may surmise, does not really protect everybody. It works the same way as in the United States. Some groups just need not apply for relief; though in my opinion, these groups wouldn’t waste their time trying.
At any rate, I should have been happier if the sign had stated, “Wanted – Barber skilled in Islander-type hair-styling.”
To Avoid Traditional Discrimination, Discriminate!
One thought led to another, which brought me to a comment about discrimination made by someone in Human Resources at a multinational company, that hair-length and styles are not grounds for refusing employment. The advice given during my days of toil in Anglo-Saxon climes, about looking for work with cropped hair in the case of males, and definitely, a certain “normality” in appearance, seems to be out of the door. Instead, there is the heavy-handed intrusive drug and alcohol testing – something which did not exist in the nineteen-seventies – which looks like it might exist to weed out the strange-looking characters, but works in a less-biased fashion.
The Right to Work
This brought me to an idea that some groups cherish: the right to work. This expression, unfortunately, contains a syntactic ambiguity – the right to be permitted to work, or, the right to be given work. I understand that the latter is meant. Indirectly, the former is a possibility when the right is contingent upon some Biblical “Mark of the Beast”, but, in that Book, the idea is more like performing “with the sweat of your brow”.
This brings us, albeit gradually, to the focal consideration of this reflection. To some degree, what I say here may already have been implemented. We might be aware of individuals who have obtained important positions, without the prerequisites therefor. New conditions, inspired by social engineering, a term which I have just found to be in use even supposedly back in 1921 [footnote 6], can even land functional illiterates into functioning overlords, immunities included. Perhaps they will be able to implement the step to be outline here, if mechanization does not become absolute.
Machine or Robot-run Service Industries
It is the step which will finally make irrelevant the Marxist – Maoist chant of “Workers of the world, unite!” Where hundreds of workers were needed before, robots are taking over. Workers – those who remain are thus little islands, never mind the song that claims the contrary. Anyone lucky enough to get a job in the service industry – especially when working for tips, if competent, will not risk losing the few perks available.
Offers of higher minimum wages by legislators are irrelevant. The industries affected can surely incorporate more technology. Imagine a bar with credit or debit card operated beer and liquor dispensers for the most common types of drinks, and a minimal staff to serve those of more exquisite tastes. [I was informed, just after writing this, that these already exist, Patent US5913454 ] The Luddites of the world would not be able to stop such technological progress, because, no matter how the laws are made, those seriously in business are going to profit, one way or another. Even if the economy is of a populist bent, such as in the Soviet Union, there will be a Nomenklatura whose sole business may be politics, but the elite in this system can only be ousted by back-stabbers.
The New Worker Unity
No, the workers will not be united in unions. They will be united in their support of state policies that are crafted to their apparent advantage. Not every subject of the State can receive its largesse in the form of bread and circuses. Some individuals will still be needed for certain types of work, others may even entertain the notion that a job is fulfilling. The competition for the few available positions cannot have individuals falling over one another, unless, perhaps, such a spectacle is to be reserved for some kind of reality show. No, the government, of course, must be sure that the opportunities are meted out as fairly as possible.
An Act for the Last Frontier in Job Discrimination
This, our humble proposal, not based on the laws of any specific country, in spite of appearances, is: “An Amendment to the Equal-Opportunities Acts in Employment in Order to Exclude Discrimination on the Bases of Capacity and Necessity”.
How does this work? The question of capacity is really redundant, but legal language has that trait, such as in the famous “aid and abet”, or “assault and battery”. Truly, why should anyone, for example, be denied a job in the accounting field because of a deficiency in handling numbers? The mistakes to be corrected by one employee will require even more employees for multiple controls, and this will reduce the unemployment rate, thus increasing the number of taxable workers. Win-win.
How about an incompetent welder? I’ve personally seen some of this – totally criminal! Take a 1-inch gap between two metal sheets. Do not join the sheets except by bridging them together with a few welding-rod stubs, and then trying to cover these over. The job will not pass inspection, it may even come undone before that, and it will have to be done over – correctly this time. Again – job creation, thanks to non-discrimination as to fitness for the task.
Our piece of legislation pretends to go even further, though. As soon as the applicant presents a résumé, or makes a personal appearance, the applicant must be accepted – subject to the quota restrictions placed on the groups which have an unfair advantage. Indeed, if the individual looking for employment is clueless as to what opportunities to look for, the right not to specify a preference should not be cause to not give a job.
Hours, wages or salary, and working conditions already having been fixed by the government, no disincentive is allowed to the applicant on the part of the not-so-potential job-giver.
There are precedents for this. A cook on the merchant fleet of one the Latin-American countries suffering from a dictatorship – a fact that would include most, if not all, at some point in their history – once told me of how an “machinist” was sent to assist in the engine-room of the vessel. This position, obtained through his affiliation with the dominant political party, was above his capacity, and the chief engineer was obliged to a strategem to get the stooge from interfering and causing more harm than good. He was told to stay away, and just collect his money at the end of the month. And see, here we are talking about someone who was not even a member of the Nomenklatura!
This is the new frontier – like in the Old West, no skills are necessarily required. What can’t be obtained by hard work, can be, by bullying. In an age of anti-gun laws, the new 6-shooter is the legislation which deep-sixes competitive drive, the will to succeed, and freedom in transactions with others. Winners will be ruthlessly put down; workers will be united under a new banner of invisible words, “Workers of the world united in a new Soviet”.
To the degree that the occidental nations have already tilted in this direction, we may be able to judge, on the basis of previous failed experiments, whither the West is going.
Aside: Anyone for my verse on where the “Oxidant” is going?
Whither the OXIDANT
The heroes of the Oxidant
Wear down their ignoble enemies.
Not being noble elements,
The inferior is subject to the oxidant –
Is covered by a crust
Most often known as rust –
Color of the Red Planet – the Warrior Planet – Mars;
Color expended by the victims in so many wars,
Color of a square in Moscow, known by its color’s name,
Once landed upon by a Mathias Rust;
(For Soviet security, a complete bust);
Color of the flag which for many years waved over that square
As enemy of the Oxidant.
(Methinks something is wrong with the logic! Take care!)
The Oxidant causes all to change, what a [color] revolution,
Yet, all to be equal!
(No! The Oxidant is the enemy of revolution, all being equal –
There is no change; it is the final state of things,
With the noble parts on top, like gilt on some common element.)
Now wait, it has just been said that the inferior is subject to,
Is covered by rust
And now you say the common elements are covered by gilt?
Well, by guilt they should be covered for their baseness!
An acid comment, if the drift be caught
But who are the heroes?
Heroes of the oxidant are those
Who wear down their ignoble enemies
While not being noble elements.
They subject the weak to their iron will;
Help the noble rule with an iron hand,
Had the iron-sides to take on the Iron Curtain – the bearers of the Red Flag.
They had the Iron Chancellor.
They had the Iron Lady,
In whose country was invented the iron horse,
Whose country was famed for its iron masters.
Those who were not of the oxidant could only copy her ideas.
They did not have the grit, nor the Kohl, to stoke their industry,
Though they had the gall to cry, “Vivre Québec libre!”
Well, now, there’s been put in … a new paradigm
For an Oxidant no longer at its prime,
Having lost its mettle
Can only settle
Article date, November 1, 2015. Verse, unknown, last 6 lines and “color” added November 1, 2015.
© 2015, Paul Karl Moeller.