Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour Day musings



In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.
- John Ruskin
From Pre-Raphaelitism {1851}

Today is Labour Day and it is appropriate to think about the dignity of labour and the meaning of work. We live in a time when many people can’t even take into consideration whether they are happy in their jobs. They have no choice. They have to put food on the table and keep up with their mortgage payments. They feel fortunate just to be employed, and thus, job satisfaction is not a primary consideration for them.

In an ideal world, this would not be the case. However, we do not live in a Utopian society and many people toil at menial and non-fulfilling jobs just to pay the bills. The recession that began in 2008 affected almost everyone to some degree. It was cruel and savage. Much of the world is still struggling to recover from that devastating blow. Unemployment is still high in the United States and Canada.

For all the suffering and pain caused by the recession, the finger must be pointed directly at Wall Street. I will not mince words here. Greed and selfishness caused the recession. However, I want to be clear. I am not opposed to capitalism per se. I am opposed to unfettered capitalism. I am opposed to capitalism without regulation and without boundaries. An absolute free market does not produce a just society.

Today I would like to pay homage to all those who labour. Today is a day to celebrate the dignity of the working person. I would also like to offer words of comfort for those who lost their jobs during the Great Recession and remain unemployed. It isn’t easy to be laid off, especially at an older age.

Although I am not militant, I firmly believe we need unions to fight for decent wages and pensions for everyone. We need unions to keep management from taking advantage of labour. The optimal situation, however, is for labour and management to work together for their mutual benefit.

I wish everyone a Happy Labour Day.


Aaron Hill led the Blue Jays to their 70th victory of the season yesterday.  The Jays defeated the New York Yankees by a score of 7-3.  Hill socked his 22nd homer and drove in three runs.

- Joanne