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rlroblung

A Perfect Objectivist Society

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Some of my friends that are open to objectivist ideals and I, like discussing the various facets of objectivism, but one topic we always come back to is a perfect society. But, no matter how in depth we get to it, we always get stuck on one point: in an objectivist society, what occurs with the jobs that are less desirable, like street sweeper, plumber and the like? I would expect someone would do it in addition to their main trade, whatever that may be, though it would be for payment. 

Edited by rlroblung

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To bring out the premises more: why do you think no one would want those jobs? If no one wants a job, well, there's room to get a lot of customers fast - no one else is a plumber but me!

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I had meant more along the lines of less desirable than not wanted. But, that indeed does make sense, with nobody else to do the job, you would have the entire market cornered, thus allowing for large profit.

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It's about creativity. Plumbing sounds pretty boring to some people. Leaky pipes - who would care, right? But imagine you are a plumber. You understand pipes. You understand how to connect pieces of metal that looks trivial to other people, but is probably as complex as how your Internet network is wired at your work. Even if you work at simple houses, your plans don't need to end there. It is sensible to get into urban planning later maybe. Who knows. Maybe your skills translate to skills as a writer on the side. Maybe you honestly like working with your hands, and plumbing is a stable job you really enjoy.

Edited by Eiuol

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Okay, I understand that completely, being a builder. Pretty basically put, it's an art like any other. The joy you would get from a job well done is equal across the board, despite some people not sharing said joy.

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I think a more perfect society (than what we have) would have a higher degree of people able and willing to apply their minds to more ambitious jobs (in other words, the average "skill level" would rise). If we consider a place like Japan as a comparison, this would mean far more automation and a greater application of capital (as opposed to labor). 

A recent thread discussed plumbers and someone spoke about cleaning drains. It's possible that a economy which is significantly richer and where plumbers are paid more than now would opt to spend a bit more when laying down pipes to make it more difficult for roots to get in [capital expenditure instead of future labor costs]. When you hear gurgling from your main drain, perhaps you would log on and order an evaluation kit in the mail. Put it down your drain and it would not only film the drain but provide an analysis of what was required. This might cut down the time the plumber eventually spends at each home reduce the need for plumbers across the economy. Perhaps there would even be be some device that you, as a home-owner, could rent and use without fear that you'll destroy your pipes or your hands in the process [automation].

The economy continues to move in this direction already: consider automated parking structures that park your car for you, super-market machines replacing cashiers, and machines replacing hamburger flippers. A lot of people fear the opposite: that there will be too many people with skills for jobs that have been automated away. (That won't happen either unless the government impedes decision-making.)

 

Also, welcome to the forum :)

Edited by softwareNerd

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It should be noted that a Perfect Objectivist Society does NOT presuppose perfect people or perfectly rational people, only that the general culture of the people is rational enough to set up a proper government whose sole role is the protection of individual rights. 

It also should be noted that people vary in ability, intelligence, situation, and predisposition.  As such they will differ in the options open to them (what they can do and what they can do well) and will vary in how much money is worth it to them to do any particular thing.  People also vary in level of "disgust", sensitivity of smell, aversion to dirt, ability to perform physical labor, etc. 

When it comes to less than "glamorous" jobs, there will always be people willing to do them, and possibly more able to do them at a premium price because most other people DON'T want to do those jobs.

In the end those things will get done whether or not by employees (or machines?).  For example, if you own a Pub, you need your washroom drains clean to attract customers.  The very worst possible situation is that YOU the owner of the Pub, recognizing the value in keeping customers who like clean bathrooms, and the value of your entire business, would clean the drains yourself.  Although you are doing it for yourself it is still part of your "job" (productive work).  Of course the logical next step up, is paying someone else to do it. 

In the free market, people vary in a myriad of ways.  The question is not whether one CAN find someone willing to do the job but HOW MUCH it would cost (in the free market of voluntary traders) to hire them. 

In a perfect society the answer to "how much" is: whatever it costs.

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I've got 20+ years in architecture, and several years as a general contractor.  I'm having trouble believing some of the replies in this post.

Look.

A typical subcontracting [plumbing] company may employee 30-50 people.  One or two are owners.  Several are accountants receivable and accounts payable.  A couple of Admins.  An estimator or two.  Six or so project managers responsible for ordering materials, managing staffing and schedules, contracts, change orders etc., and the others are workers "in the trenches" at various levels of experience and abilities.

People working for companies in professions such as these, are always rising according to their abilities.  Some move on to open their own companies.  Some become project managers, estimators or owners, etc.

Small business such as these are the backbone of the American economy and employee the majority of people in this country.

That anyone would think that work such as plumbing (or drywalling, painting, rough carpentery, masonry, concrete, millworking, HVAC, electrician, low voltage, refrigeration, elevator, welding, finish carpentry, flooring etc., etc., etc.) is somehow "menial labor" says more about that person's lack of "real world experience" than I care to think.

 

 

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No one should labor under the delusion that Marxism, religion, capitalism, or even Objectivism promises to deliver humankind to Utopia. Objectivism defines the natural rights of people, standards of morality, and within that standard of morality, the right to trade a value for a value. I hope one day, our society will embrace the Objectivist ideals of capitalism and rational self-interest, although I am quite certain many will cling to religion and various forms of altruistic practices. As the topic of this threat probes the possibility of such a society, that hypothetical society will be occupied by a minority of irrational and imperfect people, StrictlyLogic suggested. (The more irrational, the smaller the minority, I hope.) Either way, laws would reflect those ethics of free-market economics, and markets would set the price of all goods and services. As softwareNerd pointed out, new technologies may increase the efficiency of many jobs, and likely they will reduce the hazard and discomfort of what are now low-tech operations. If those services are the "dirty jobs," (and as New Buddha very rightly pointed out, plumbing and other careers in the trades, should not be regarded as "menial") the market will set the wages for such tasks. Some people are perfectly content to clean out drains and sewer pipes, pump out septic tanks, remove road kills, and remove the ugliness of natural and human activities, as long as they are paid accordingly. Morticians, are example, have the sort of job I would not envy, but it requires skills, as well as certain other traits I do not possess, and it pays well. And as long as the pay is right, you can be sure someone will be willing to do it.

Edited by Repairman
minor addition

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