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8943: Re: 8942: Re: 8928: Dorce replies to Corbett on jobs (fwd)
>From Bob Corbett
> From: LAKAT47@aol.com
> Bob, I am sorry you see my posts as attacking people and not
> ideas or behaviors. If you are worried that my position is
> excessive and harmful to Haitian people, what do you think
> about these exploiters?
Kathy, my post is not about the exploiters. It is about one
claim and one only. You made the claim that no job is better
than a bad job. THis is a view that I believe carries
implications that are not only harmful for people, but justify
deciding for others whether or not they should have the option
to work at jobs that you or some other obsevers decides is one
of these bad jobs.
I am not interested in the rest of the issue. I am just
attacking one particular claim of fact that you put forward.
> them. I DO impose my values on Americans doing business in
> Haiti. I am saying so what if that is how it's always been....
> improve conditions and pay a living wage. Pretend that all
> of America is watching and knows exactly where their kids'
> pajamas came from.......under what conditions they were
> assembled. I believe that Americans would not buy such
> a product if they knew people suffered to make it.
This is a related claim that seems patent nonsense to me. I am a
not terribly unsympathetic person I do just what you say Americans would
not do and I do it every day. I've taught courses at the university
for 36 years which deal with this issue and I demonstrate with
powerful literature how many hundreds of products from bananas
to clothing to drinks, are created for the market by the horrible
exploiting of workers. I regret this and do things I think I can do. But
I continue to eat bananas and like products. That Americans buy
such products ONLY out ignorance seems very contrary to fact to
me. Myself and many other Americans know that bad jobs produce these
goods and we continue to buy them.
There are other ways I do respond, but boycotting products is not
one I follow and many, many like me including most of my students
since we talked about this issue constantly.
I do not believe that no job is better than a bad job as an
absolute rule. That's a choice to be decided by the worker
him or herself, not by me. You may choose what you wish,
I am arguing the choice that embraces the principle that
a bad job is worse than no job has the impact of profound harm
to the people who have no jobs because people acted on your
> <<1. One simply assumes there are alternatives, yet I hear no concrete ones
> being given that suggest a reasonable hope of coming into being.>>
> So if the situation in Haiti is bad enough, the people should
> take whatever they can get, even if it means that life is
> miserable and demeaning.
Should, should, should. You can scream shoulds at people until
you are breathless and all bad jobs will not disapprear. History
teaches us this. We don't live in a utopia. We live in
a hard world and on the basis of your shoulds to impose a
principle on others that their bad job SHOULDN'T exist is
to put them in desperate danger or great harm.
> investors and business owners will not do business in Haiti
> if they must improve working conditions, then Haiti needs
> to find other ways to employ the people.
I support strongly the notion of decent jobs for people and
have been working in that direction in Haiti for the
past 18 years. But it doesn't follow from this aim and hope
that I could ever support a principle which announces that
a bad job is worse than no job.
I do aim and support doing whatever may be done to improve the
nature of jobs in Haiti. But asserting and acting as though
bad jobs are worse than no job is, on my view, profoundly
excessive and harmful to people.
> <<Often the choice for the Haitian worker and even interested bystander
> (since I am often one of those) is that the REAL option faced by the
> worker is this job or none.>>
> Not really Bob. Many many Haitians make money or exist on no job
> at all. There is a cooperative, even socialistic system among poor
> Haitians that has worked for years.......how else have all these people
> stayed alive? The way I have seen it work is this: people gather others
> around them, neighbors or family, who share what they have when they
> have it. One time one person has money and they cook food for others;
> another time another person has money and they share their food. All
> people in this group help each other when needed. My husband made
> money with his art and he taught some men to paint too. They would
> work together and Martino would sell and split the money. Other people
> who could not paint would do other chores for money and that way, many
> people (none with jobs) got by using this mutually beneficial system. He
> has never worked for a living soul in his life. With tourism, many people
> could make money and others would benefit as well.
In no way would I disagree with the things you say above. It is
only he claim that there is NO BAD JOB that is better for anyone
than no job at all.
I a arguing that such a claim alone, only that claim is excessive
and harmful, removing imporant life choices from workers when
it is embraced as a principle.
> I can't imagine that you, Bob Corbett, would ever provide jobs that would
> exploit poor Haitians for the purpose of building your personal wealth.
> Please don't think I am talking about any venture that helps Haitians
> help themselves, which I am positive is your motive.
Your principle as you state is : no job is better than a bad job.
It does not demand anythign about the motive of the person
who offers the job. The principle as you state it ignores motives,
situation, future intent and all other variables. It is that
universal and blanket principle of yours I am attacking, nothing else.
In your earlier post you indicated that jobs are offered to Haitians
which are not decent jobs and which most of us on this mailing
list would never want. I agree with that 100%. And I am one, as
are others on this list, who offer such jobs. I do not do so
because I LIKE having to give those jobs. I do so because I think
even a bad job is better than no job at all. I do so because
an income producing job is likely to last longer and produce more
results for the family of the worker than a hand out of charity,
and certainly more than just taking away bad jobs and not
replacing them with anything except empty words of how people
"should" behave in the world when they may not.
Your principle as you state it doesn't distinguish between those
who make profits with those bad jobs and those who do other things.
The jobs are just as bad in either case.
I have never been a defender of capitalist exploitation in my
life. But from that it doesn't not follow that a bad job is
worse than no job. No job is a dangerous and horrible and hopeless
situation that often kills.
I support the disgust and
> dissatisfaction of factory workers who are denied representation and
> organization. And I should think you would too.
Kathy, I do support those things and have done so actively all the
time. I just don't support the notion that no job is better than
a bad job.
Protesting jobs of one's own, one's group (union) or for others
is a powerful tool and a risky tool. My brother is the president
of a very large union. I sit in on meetings with him often and
hear the calculations of how they can win a strategy to improve the
job situation. The have their limits and will back away when they
are convinced that action such and such will kill the job. His
union and all others I know of do not hold blanketly that no job is better
than a bad job. One may be willing to go that far, one may not.
They do not hold it as a universal principle as you do.
> First of all, I do not imagine that my posts will cause factory owners and
> prospective investors to change their actions. Because things are bad,
> I will not accept that things must stay bad. I am for improvement in the
> quality of life for the peasant class in Haiti. What would you have me do?
Your word and my words may not change anything. But on the other
hand they may. What I would have you do is make responsible claims
that do not embrace such an excessive and potentially harmful
principle as that which claims that no job is better than a bad one.
What you and I and others who are on this list and discuss ideas
can do at the level of discussion is to work hard to talk responsibly
and defend ideas with good reasons. WE can challenge each other
to talk more responsibly since ideas are important and do move
the world. My argument is to claim that this important principle
of yours is simply not a responsible and rational principle and what
I would respond to what you should do is give up this potentially
harmful and undefensible notion.
> Nothing? It seems as though that is what you are saying. I respect those
> people, I want those people to have an opportunity to effect their own
Me too. Making claims that are not defensible in the world in which
we live doesn't seem to contribute to, bu harms that cause.