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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Glass half full



Who are the puppets and who the puppet masters?

Maybe it’s a matter of perspective, a kind of glass half full or half empty perspective. Optimistic or pessimistic – make your choice and draw your conclusions. Let’s try some optimism for a change.

In spite of what we hear about poverty and social decay, most of us in the UK lead comfortable lives compared to those of our grandparents. The people who manage this satisfactory state of affairs are executives and senior players in a whole range of businesses, institutions and bureaucracies.

They are well rewarded of course, in many cases vastly over-rewarded because a fair number of them are useless parasites. But from a glass half full perspective, perhaps the price is a small one if we consider the advantages.

So if the situation works out to our advantage, who comes out on top? The executive who is owned body and soul by his or her business? The senior bureaucrat who works every weekend just to stay on top of the job? It isn’t always like that of course, but it can be and is it isn’t clear who is jerking the strings. Chicken or egg?

We have reached a stage where enjoying life isn’t wholly a question of money. Not so long ago it was money, but now it isn’t. Okay so only a few of us can afford to swan around in an Aston Martin, but what’s the point of that with speed cameras all over the place?

What’s the point of being even moderately wealthy? What luxury or lifestyle advantage lies beyond the reach of the majority? Again it is a matter of perspective, a kind of glass half empty or half full perspective...

...pauses for a sip of old Madeira...

...right where was I? Oh yes. Taking things a step further, what would the world be like if an unfamiliar social perspective were to emerge? One where the ambitious executive is a menial, deceived into swapping his or her leisure for ludicrously expensive gewgaws and an illusory social status?

Suppose we are in the middle of some gigantic process of discovering the good life? Suppose those who manage it for us are just as much puppets as we are? We jerk their strings just as much as they...

...or is that the Madeira speaking?

6 comments:

Sackerson said...

Excellent.

Sam Vega said...

the ambitious executive is a menial, deceived into swapping his or her leisure for ludicrously expensive gewgaws and an illusory social status?

Ssshhhhh! Don't tell them! It's disgusting and soul-destroying work, of course, but someone has to do it. I got quite deeply into it a few years back, but now would be happy for someone to pass me the toilet brush.

I agree with Sackerson. One of your best. The bit I quoted quite literally made me sit bolt upright and pay attention.

Michael said...

If I am honest with myself, at past retirement age, I simply can't be arsed to do the job I used to now!

We have so much to do and look forward to at home, on small but adequate pensions, and with new grandchildren taking characters etc, extreme gardening and other hobbies, the last thing I want to do is prop up bars and try and 'do deals', which is what I used to be paid to do...

I've never really thought any 'wealthy' executive was any better than the guys on the tools, or in the back office!

A K Haart said...

Sackers - thanks.

Sam - I hear from a reliable source that there are ex middle managers driving buses because they've had enough.

Michael - extreme gardening?

Demetrius said...

Have some Madeira, my dear. Saw the show in Feb' 57 at The Fortune. But what pray Madeira on you on? But memory, many of our present "poor" have life styles and riches unimaginable to many of the labouring classes of a century ago.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - it was unimaginable and a century ago is barely beyond living memory.