November 3, 2000

On the Job

I'm copping out (good '60's expression!) this time in order to post this essay written for senior English class by Rob (Younger Son).

The assignment was, write an "argumentative essay" tying in with Animal Farm (George Orwell). Since Rob had done an oral presentation on the aspect of communism in the book, he was encouraged to continue that train of thought in the essay.

I read it through before he handed it in, but changed almost nothing - Canadianized some spelling and added a comma or two, at most.

On the Job

The solution to problems in a society is thought of by many to be communism; that way everyone can work together to achieve the same goals. However, with its emphasis on collective ownership, communism cannot succeed since the system does not reward personal achievement.

Communism is a system of organization where the community owns the property and all citizens share in the enjoyment of the common wealth, more or less according to their needs. A single political party controls the government, which distributes wealth to establish a classless society.

The idea of a classless society, in which all the production and distribution are owned by the community as a whole and from which any traces of a state have disappeared, has long held a fascination for human beings. Everyone gets plenty of everything that's needed for a comfortable life. When the head of a household needs anything for himself or his family, he just goes to a shop and asks for it. Work is distributed to whoever is able to accomplish the task at hand. Wealth is distributed evenly; people employed with jobs that are more stressful, time consuming and difficult enjoy the same advantages (and disadvantages) as the others.

Why is it that people work? In general, they work to earn money. Why is it that they need money? They need the money to support their families and live comfortable lives. The cheque at the end of a week is a time to get paid back for all the hard work spent in university over the years preparing for the job, as well as reward for working to the best of their ability at their job.

In general, human beings are selfish. People would work for their own benefit harder than they would for the benefit of others. When there is no such thing as personal rewards, in the means of a raise or promotion and the goal of the job is to help out in society, motivation amongst workers drops tremendously. As well as being selfish, human beings are also guilty of being lazy. The attitude that would develop would be that if they don't do the job, someone else would do it for them. If that attitude was shared in the community, nothing would get done and rather than taking advantage of the communist system, they would be at a disadvantage.

Competition exists everywhere. Whether it's on the football field, the poker table or in the workplace, competition keeps things interesting and motivates one to do better. Everyone likes to win, to be able to say that they are the best. Bragging rights are worth quite a bit, and it's for that reason that people like to excel at what they do. Constant work in collectives would diminish the motivation of workers. It's a lot more stimulating being number one then having everyone be number one together.

In Animal Farm, it's shown that not everyone works for his or her own benefit. Boxer maintained his status as a hard worker even after things started to change around the farm. However, the animals taking over did result in a drop in production. Each year seemed to get more and more difficult and they were forced to drop rations.

Not everyone is the same and not all groups behave similarly. Some would work hard under a communist regime, but there are always those that won't. It's for that reason that without emphasis on reward for accomplishment, communism cannot succeed.

I find it a bit sad that a sixteen year old has few illusions about human nature; however the realism will probably serve him well in the long run.

Linque Du Jour:   A Tree Grows in Laval

Having nothing better to do (not to mention no life) I followed the progress of one of our maple trees this autumn. Larger versions of these thumbnails are posted in weblog form, because it was easier than constructing a web page!

these are taken from my front porch... facing south-ish.. and on the larger ones.. you can also follow the trees and grass in the park across the street... which is to the left in the photos.. hi Bob!

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