Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Diversity Training, Again

The educational opportunities in this field just abound. The main speakers at the upcoming Diversity Workshop are TAHIRA, a storyteller who believes that spirits are lifted and bodies healed by storytelling, and an activist and co-author of Economic Apartheid in America, a primer on economic inequality.

TAHIRA is right about the lifting spirits, of course, depending on what story is being told. I have less assurance about the healing bodies, unless she’s really a standup comedian. But mostly I am worried that adults pay continuing education dollars for this. And yes, I am concerned about people with one name in all caps. Not even Madonna does all caps.

The speaker about classism looks like a real hoot. Over at Amazon.com, we learn that the authors are not economists, but social activists, explaining economics to us. One of the reviews is from a grateful person who never took any economics and is glad someone explained all this to her. Need I mention that appears to be no training, formal or informal, in anything related to economics either? No statistics, economic development, business, nothing like that. The negative reviews claim this is Marxism Lite. The positive reviews include a lot of sputtering about fascists, Wall Street, and corporate control. The book itself seems to base its indictment of corporate America on two facts: multinational corporations are very big, and their CEO’s make a lot of money. I wonder if this connects with my earlier post about resentment of others’ wealth being hardwired into us. That we all are more prosperous isn’t the point to them. The point is that someone is becoming prosperous faster than you. Great. I feel much better now that whatever I thought about my life before, it actually sucks.

Financial activities have financial payoffs. Social activities have social payoffs. Spiritual activities... oh, why bother. There seems this unaccountable desire to mix these categories. Because the activities of people besides the CEO might be more socially important or spiritually important, people think it is immoral that they be paid less. This really torques people off about CEO’s, baseball players, day traders, and entertainers. Or anyone who doesn’t look like they are working as hard as miners or breakfast waittresses. We think their activities should not be rewarded so handsomely in financial terms, because we consider the actions socially or spiritually less important. It bugs us that people no more worthy than, well, us, for example, get paid more.

This sort of envy does not elevate the social and spiritual value of other work – it demeans it. It measures all things by money. Rather than denying the worldly standard, it embraces it. This sort of class envy says to the hardworking person of low salary “by any fair standard you should be considered more valuable, but you’re not. You’re considered a loser.” Gee, thanks a lot, there, pal. Glad you’re on my side. You wouldn’t uh, think that there might be some personal issues in all this, would you?


Bird Dog said...

Good post.

We blog for nothing, and it takes time, genius, effort, knowledge, and work.

IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!!!! Boo hoo.

Anonymous said...

The only group of workers more overpaid than CEO's are diversity trainers!

Seriously, though, I do object to the level of CEO salaries (but not baseball players, day traders, entertainers, etc.) . This is not out of envy but because, unlike the others, CEO salaries are set by cartel pricing (rather than a free market) and because their compensation bears no reasonable correlation to performance or risk.

Anonymous said...

If we could pitch all those pitching class envy (for political gain, monetary gain, etc) into a real socialist state....where all share exactly the same...they would really shriek.

I note Kerry's camel hair coat, and Sharpton's expensive clothes, and...shucks, the list is way too long...pick and country and pick their demagogue and we know what we'll find. Does Danny Ortega still were designer shades?

Great comments. You call 'em out.