Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

demi-gods of THIS world

Rate this topic


aaa
 Share

Recommended Posts

"What, just like the employer forces you to actually do work for him? You are following the same logic that has people saying you are "forced" to buy products, etc."

The employer contracts with an employee to do particular work. If that employee does not do the work, then the contract has been violated and the employer is justified in terminating employment. That's not force, it's common sense.

Nor is it analagous to people claiming that they are "forced" to buy products: for starters, there are generally many choices of products at many different stores or markets, and one obviously cannot be forced to buy a product if one lacks the money to purchase it.

It is not necessarily the case that an employee has a choice of work options. It is subject to factors beyond his immediate control, such as the state of the economy. In a tight job market, an employee who does not have the capital to start his own business, and who cannot afford to be unemployed, does not really have the option of leaving his existing job -- theoretically he does, I suppose, but not in reality.

I think this has to do with the recognition of reality versus nice-sounding absolutist theories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not necessarily the case that an employee has a choice of work options. It is subject to factors beyond his immediate control, such as the state of the economy. In a tight job market, an employee who does not have the capital to start his own business, and who cannot afford to be unemployed, does not really have the option of leaving his existing job -- theoretically he does, I suppose, but not in reality.

What if I own a restaurant and require my employees to read a book by a certain chef because they will better understand our food?

What if I own a custom carpentry business and require my employees to read about a certain style of woodworking?

What if I am an architect and require my employees to read about Frank Lloyd Wright?

All are relevent to the point at hand.

Atlas Shrugged in large part deals with the understanding of what money is, what its purpose is and why freedoms of association pertaining to financial transactions are so important. Hence, relevent to a banking institution.

If you have a business and people want to work for it there is nothing wrong with insisting they study the ldeals you as the owner are striving for.

Your argument concerns me, Avila, because you seem to be making the assertion that the need of the worker for their job somehow trumps the right of the owner to run the kind of business they want to run and to require that their employees make an effort to understand their ideals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The employer contracts with an employee to do particular work. If that employee does not do the work, then the contract has been violated and the employer is justified in terminating employment. That's not force, it's common sense.

Yes, and sometimes reading a book is one task that employees are required to do. Many organizations require you to not only read, but to discuss the concepts you've learned and how to apply them at work. I know people who have worked for Christian organizations and have had to read anti-racism books and participate in monthly "study groups." In many cases, employees can check out the book from a library (freely), buy it at a used bookstore, or sometimes the company will give everyone a free copy (as with training manuals). These "study groups" are probably a good way to get to know your employees.. and oftentimes the material is really controversial (ie Tim Wise's Colorblind book, and even Atlas Shrugged) which makes for a good discussion (if anyone actually takes the task seriously and isn't afraid to voice their opinions on the matter).

Also, the employer isn't saying "Here, read this and believe every word!" They're just saying, "Take a few hours to consider this alternate viewpoint."

Edited by Michele Degges
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"What if I own a restaurant and require my employees to read a book by a certain chef because they will better understand our food?

What if I own a custom carpentry business and require my employees to read about a certain style of woodworking?

What if I am an architect and require my employees to read about Frank Lloyd Wright?"

Those are all relevant to the employer's business. However, "Atlas Shrugged" is FICTION. Its characters don't exist, and though I think Ayn Rand does a pretty good job at pointing out what is wrong with the welfare state in its pages, it is just fiction. I don't think the characters are realistic at all, so its application to business and personnel management seems thin at best. It boils down to an employer taking his personal reading tastes and forcing it on his employees, though it has nothing to do with their performance.

"Your argument concerns me, Avila, because you seem to be making the assertion that the need of the worker for their job somehow trumps the right of the owner to run the kind of business they want to run and to require that their employees make an effort to understand their ideals."

No, not really. I am all in favor of the rights of businessmen to run the kind of business they want to. But I think basic respect for the employees is a reasonable expectation, and I don't think demanding that they read the employer's particular favorite fiction is reasonable. It's not a business manual, for heaven's sake -- it's FICTIONAL. If an employer told me that I had to read "The Lord of the Rings" because they liked it and it informed their worldview, then I would expect to be paid for taking the time to read that fiction, or at least make it a suggestion as opposed to a requirement. If they required me to read some manuals or other non-fiction materials that directly related to my job and/or the business as a whole, then I don't have a problem with that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those are all relevant to the employer's business. However, "Atlas Shrugged" is FICTION. Its characters don't exist, and though I think Ayn Rand does a pretty good job at pointing out what is wrong with the welfare state in its pages, it is just fiction. I don't think the characters are realistic at all, so its application to business and personnel management seems thin at best.

Rand's goal in writing it was to illustrate her philosophy through fiction. It is that philosophy that Mr. Allison wishes to orient his business principles towards. Who cares if the reading he uses to communicate that philosophy is fiction? Would you honestly be more comfortable if he just assigned OPAR instead, because it's 'not fiction?'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I'd be more comfortable with "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal".

You make excellent points, Dante -- I guess I'm fairly persuaded by what you're saying. I think my reservations are due to what I see as the unrealistic depiction of Rand's characters -- they don't seem like real human beings. I think that's a limitation when trying to apply that to the real world of business.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I'd be more comfortable with "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal".

You make excellent points, Dante -- I guess I'm fairly persuaded by what you're saying. I think my reservations are due to what I see as the unrealistic depiction of Rand's characters -- they don't seem like real human beings. I think that's a limitation when trying to apply that to the real world of business.

(Emphasis in the quote mine)

They were never intended to be.

Rand herself said that these characters were not meant to be people as they are but rather people "as they could be and should be". It is fiction used as parable (although lengthier than standard parable I'll grant) to illustrate problems and solutions in the real world.

In that, having your employee read AS is no different than having an employee read Plato's allegories or such classic works.

I'm not sure what line of work you are in or how old you are but I'm assuming you might be pretty young (this is not meant to be insulting) if you don't realise that in the higher levels of any business one must do a lot of reading, work, studying and growth off the clock, on one's own time. This might also be where you are not understanding why this practice is deemed acceptable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Rand herself said that these characters were not meant to be people as they are but rather people "as they could be and should be"."

Yes, I am aware of that. However, I doubt that very few (if any, really) people actually could be, and frankly I'm not so sure they should be. Again, I think Rand makes excellent points about what is wrong, but her characters are so wooden and one-dimensional that I would rather people aspire to something more human. That's why it's hard for me to see its applicability to the real business world, which is why I balk at an employer requiring it (just as I would balk at an empoyer wasting my free time by requiring me to read "The Lord of the Rings", even though I'm very fond of the books).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, I am aware of that. However, I doubt that very few (if any, really) people actually could be, and frankly I'm not so sure they should be.

Perhaps people can be greater than you think they can be. Pervasive in the biography of Steve Jobs is the theme of his tyrannical style of leadership. Yet equally pervasive is the theme of his ability to inspire people to do things they didn't think they could do. While likely less tyrannical than Jobs, perhaps in Mr. Allison's case he sees reading about the ideal to be more valuable than you see it to be. When one sees the problems of presented in AS, perhaps one would also see the need to emulate that ideal as best as possible, even if they don't initially think they could achieve the same level of greatness exhibited by the characters. That said, you are certainly free to avoid any requirement by an employer that you are personally uncomfortable with. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you think Bill Gates is a joke I suggest you start to re-evaluate people. His achievements are tremendous and the value he has created is mind-boggling. There is no way his flaws could ever reduce him to a joke.

While Microsoft has engaged in questionable business practices (questionable to the media?), and peddled some products of questionable quality (Although some of this is due to having to support almost every device combination under the sun, where as Apple only supports its own.) the fact remains that Microsoft is still a juggernaut, even if the era of Google and smartphones.

The "evil" greed of Bill Gates has enabled the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to donate vast sums of money and technology to better the world.

How often does the average middle class person do anything to benefit the world?

They desperately demand that the "evil" businessmen surrender their wealth and power because the "evil" businessmen command more value in society than an office worker.

Someone who is more successful than the average joe at anything is automatically a target.

Don't even get me started with creative people. Far too many consider making a profit off of any creative endeavor to be "selling out".

In a sense, the rapper 50 Cent could be considered within this realm of demi-gods. He grew up in Southside Queens, where young men rarely live to the age 25, and if they do, they endure a lifetime of low-wage jobs.

Now he commands an empire worth $500 million+, and is a consumate realist and very rational.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In a sense, the rapper 50 Cent could be considered within this realm of demi-gods. He grew up in Southside Queens, where young men rarely live to the age 25, and if they do, they endure a lifetime of low-wage jobs.

They "rarely" live to the age of 25? I'm sure it's rough in Southside Queens, but "rarely" living to 25 seems exaggerated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...