Sunday, May 10, 2020

The wrong frame

We keep hearing in the News about the economic disaster Coronavirus has wrought upon us: so many jobs lost, so many unemployed, people unable to pay rent or buy food, and so on.  The frame within which this narrative thrives is a worldview in which people's worth is shackled to the job they have.  Jobless, not renting their labor to the capitalist class, they are worth nothing.  Not even worth having health care, because their health care is also shackled to their job.  Basically, without a job you shouldn't expect to be alive.

I would like to propose a counter-narrative.  People are not "unemployed."  People are unable to go to work because of the danger of being infected by a Virus.  The "job," i.e. the work they were doing, still exists, it was not "lost."  Was it?  Presumably it will still have to be done, when it's safe for someone to do it.

In a decent country, the Virus would have happened, but the consequences would have been different.  People who could not continue doing their jobs would have remained "employed," with pay and benefits.  No doubt the Government would have to chip in, substantially, but people's lives would not have had to be so disrupted by the tangential effects of the Virus.

This decent country would have to be "socialist," to some extent, though a better label might be humanistic.  This requires a different framing of human worth and work, something the US seems incapable of.

Of course, a decent country would not have allowed a grifter sociopath to become president in the first place. 


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The wrong frame

We keep hearing in the News about the economic disaster Coronavirus has wrought upon us: so many jobs lost, so many unemployed, people unabl...