While pondering about society, as I am wont to do, I came across something I view as a critical flaw. The hierarchy of many of our systems works backwards.
We’ll start by looking at the workforce. In order for society to function, people need to perform various jobs. To encourage people to do these jobs, they are paid money – which they require so they can go on eating and paying bills and such. This isn’t entirely bad, but the desperate need for money does.
In ancient times, it was possible for people without a source of money to live off the land and, if they needed to, go out into the wilderness and build themselves a home. Now, at least in first world countries, they can’t do that. Not only have we lost the basic skill sets, but even if we wanted to go homesteading we’d still have to buy the land and pay taxes on it. We’d need a job.
Having a job to make money has become such a desperate need that people destroy themselves and their mental health just to get and keep one. This is made worse by the shortage of jobs – employers have been given the leverage that if you don’t do the job exactly how they want you to, they can easily replace you. This adds to the pressure of a job and has the employees working under threat (rather than positive motivation) and creates a harmful relationship between employers and employees.
In short, people are desperate for money, so they will do work they hate in harmful environments to keep their employers happy. But, what if that were reversed? What if, instead of people pushing themselves further and further to get and keep jobs, employers had to entice the best employees to come work for them? What if it became the employer’s responsibility to make people want to work or them?
Some companies with enough money to throw around already do this, but in many of the biggest companies it has become just a gesture. There are “Benefits” given to the employees, but where is the effort to make the employees enjoy the work environment? Any given employer shouldn’t be driving their employees with a whip, but a member of the team working to make everything run smoothly. They should be as accountable to their employees as the employees are to them.
The same theory can be applied to governments. There is a great divide between governments and their people, because we have this idea the government members are in charge of the rest of us. They wield the power, after all. People talk about the government as if they are an alien race.
Yet, if everything functioned as it should, people could bring problems to the government to get them resolved. Yes, that is partially available through the court system, but that doesn’t work for everything. How much faster would potholes get fixed if the government was more approachable?
Our world is divided into hierarchies, with the idea that the person below has to do whatever the person above says. This structure is needed because there needs to be someone observing what is happening – someone who is not directly involved who can see the whole picture and direct the flow to ensure productivity and efficiency. However, if that person is “better than” their underlings, they become more of a problem than a help. It’s all very well telling people something has to be done, but if you don’t know if it’s possible or if the manpower exists for it, you’re just causing problems. When there is a view of equality, the underlings can express their concerns and the problems with instructions and, together, the team can find a solution.
Being at the top of a hierarchy is a responsibility, but it has become a goal and a perk – which is the inherent problem with a hierarchical structure. Once someone has been given the power, why should they bother with more than they have to? Why should they listen to the people below them?
It keep things running smoothly and properly, that’s why.
Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.