Re: The value of Work

Guy Giffard (
Mon, 1 Jun 1998 14:24:45 -0400 (EDT)

Bob Tighe wrote:
> Undervalued is a relative term, and the value placed on human
> effort is determined by those who make the decisions. Because
> the decisions are made almost exclusively by wealthy white men,
> poor men become cannon fodder and poor people of both genders
> and all races become industrial fodder. The reality is not
> as simple as you imply.

I never tried to imply that reality is simple. It is often much
more complex than it seems to be. For instance, the fact that
men occupy the positions at the top of the hierarchy does in no
way imply that men as a group are better off. To take a very
crude example: Who has more power, the man who drives the limo
or the millionnaire who sits in the back seat? Yet the driver's
handling of the steering wheel makes the car go this way or that.

The same goes for politicians: they might be officially "in control",
but they better go where the voters want them to go, or they'll be
out of a job fast.

> However, even poor white men have something in common with rich
> white men, so white men tend to get paid better, although they
> are often still undervalued. Women and minorities are a few steps
> further down on the value ladder.
> The work and societal contributions of women have always been
> undervalued, the occupations traditionally filled mostly by women
> have always been underpaid, and these tendencies continue.

The occupations traditionally filled by women are the least dangerous,
and they are also the most comfortable in many other respects (working
indoors, etc.,...). For more details, you might like to read The
Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell, pages 117-118. Whether a
person's presence on the job market is valued or not valued does not
express itself only through salary. For instance, as Warren Farrell
points out in the same book (p. 288),

"In one decade, women had gotten more protection against offensive
jokes in the workplace than men had gotten in centuries against being
killed in the workplace."

I think we can agree on one thing: reality is seldom as simple as it

Best wishes.

Guy Giffard

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