Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A redundant member of society (Takers)

I'm afraid that's what I am--a redundant member of society. If society is separated into 'makers' and 'takers,' I'm someone who ministers to the 'takers.' My career in healthcare has given me the opportunity to work with all sorts of 'takers' including: long-term nursing home residents, short-term Medicare rehab patients, residents (inmates) of locked psych units, seriously handicapped children, children from foster homes and wards of the state. It's been the rare occasion when I take care of someone who has a job.

So if we manage to rid our society of takers, I won't have a job. That's probably true for a fair number of people. Perhaps our takers provide employment for many people who are otherwise redundant. If we tried to shrink our society to only the productive people, we'd have a much smaller society, say 40% of the current size. When you get rid of the takers, you can probably get rid of 80% of the doctors, maybe 35% of the farmers, 40% of the teachers, 80% of the police, and 95% of the lawyers (ha, just exaggerating... maybe).

It's not that I advocate increasing the number of takers so that there are more social service jobs. I understand the budget implications of that, which is blowing an even larger hole in our state and federal budgets.

No, the reason I write this is to reflect on how many excess people we have in society. There are so many extra people and so much extra labor in this country and in the world. Industrial and computer automation has made many millions more redundant. If we are going to despise the 'takers' and respect only the 'makers,' we're going to hate much of humanity, and we should be working to reduce our numbers by a significant amount. 

I guess once all my 'taker' clients are gone, I'll be scheduled as redundant too unless I'm lucky enough to get a healthcare position ministering to the generally healthy. There will be so much competition for those positions I probably won't succeed. Oh well. 

It's not all that bleak. Maybe one of the makers will let me live on his crumbs and table scraps. I can always hope.

Image: usmanvakil-beggars.blogspot.com


Dangerous said...

And let's not forget those dogs!! Talk about the ultimate "takers" in our society!!!

We spend so much money on those little fuzzballs and what do we get in return? Love? Companionship?

And speaking of layabouts, aren't the biggest "takers" of all trust fund kids?

So to answer your prayer at the end of your essay, recall that Jesus reminded us that it's the meek who shall inherit the Earth. So by taking care of the meek you are one of the lucky ones who gets to feed your soul on their crumbs and table scraps, right?

I think the moral of the story is that soul makes and each soul takes. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. (You go John & Paul!!)

ModeratePoli said...


Sorry for the belated reply. First, I think Jesus was wrong about a lot of things. You have to postulate an afterlife to believe that the meek inherit the earth. If you look for that result in real life, the evidence is rather to the opposite.

I think there's something to the "makers and takers" argument, but, as always, it's more complex than the proponents make it out to be.

Ayn Rand was the ultimate advocate of this viewpoint, and few want a world as cold and harsh as hers. We don't want our society to be mercenary all the time, but instead we want plenty of room for love, giving, and sharing.

Nonetheless, it appears to me that this whole world has many more people than jobs for them to do, and this problem has vastly increased in just a few decades.