November 1, 2011
I had earphones pumping music into my head today while working out. On came a Huey Lewis song that got my attention with this lyric; “Takin’ what their givin’ cuz I’m workin’ for a livin’.”
It seems we have people occupying physical space in various cities instead of occupying themselves with work. I wonder how they pay their cell phone bills, not to mention paying for food, clothing, and shelter.
Some complain that they have college degrees and college loans outstanding but can’t find work, well, at least work commensurate with their expectations. I suggest as someone who has been both an employee and an employer that including your “occupy” this or that experience on your resume does not improve your competitiveness in the job market, for any kind of job.
A job exists, by definition, because people voluntarily want to exchange money they earn from their job for a product or service a person or organization produces. A job, by definition, is a defined set of tasks and responsibilities expected to be performed in exchange for pay and other possible benefits to produce a product or service. To work, by definition, is to accept a job. That is, you need to be Takin’ what their givin’ if you expect to be workin’ for a livin’.
Which brings us to Greece.
The majority political party in the Greek Parliament, at least as I write this, is the Panhellenic Socialist Movement party which has given the Greek people what they wanted but not what they can afford.
Greece is over €300 billion in debt and is in financial difficulties in part because successive Greek governments were found to have consistently and deliberately misreported the country’s official economic statistics to keep within the monetary union guidelines (rather than face the music earlier together with the Greek people). Short form, Greek governments lied to their lenders and now want to hold a referendum to see if the Greek people will agree to austerity measures imposed by the lenders they lied to. The other EU governments, by the way, are asking all private (not government) holders of Greek debt to take a 50% haircut on their principal, along with offering the Greek people more debt in exchange for more austerity measures. (If you are not laughing now you should be.)
Which brings us to responsibility.
The circumstance of the “occupiers” and of the Greek people confirm the reality that any socialist or statist government, democratic or not, will fail to effectively improve the lot of its citizens over the long term.
The “occupy” people need to take any job they can find, or create one for themselves.
The Greek people need to take a full haircut on their debt problems.
We need to stop making excuses and start “Takin’ what their givin’ cuz we’re workin’ for a livin’,” embracing both the risks and rewards of personal liberty and the responsibility that goes with it.
Post Script November 5, 2011: It now seems both Greek and European leaders wish to deny the right of the Greek people to vote on whether or not to accept the loans and austerity measures offered by Euro politicians. Fear of the consequences of a voter rejection is not an excuse to prevent a democratic voice on this most critical of issues for the Greek people. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, you are either on the bus or off the bus. It is a great disappointment that the Greek people will not get to make this choice.
Also, it now seems the “occupy” people have lost control of their protests in some cities to those prone to violence (see: Oakland, CA). The theme of responsibility (and lack thereof) seems more and more relevant to the reality of what is being reported in the media. It is also of note that the tea party demonstrators waved their signs, voiced their concerns, voted accordingly and went back to work, leaving the sites of their demonstrations clean. (I am not a tea party participant, just being observant.)