The statement in question is highlighting arears pertaining to the classical view of work. In this essay i will be discussing the different alternatives of viewing work and how meaningful work, together with employers and their employees, can rather be achieved through mutual cooperation. Classical View Joseph Desjardins states that there are three definitions which explain the meaning of work. Those are a job, career and a calling. (Desjardins,J. 009).
The meaning of work varies from person to person but it can either mean nothing than merely what it is like a job would define or it could mean something more of a “morally inseparable” (Desjardins,J. 2009) meaning such as a calling would supply. The statement made in the essay topic suggest a classical view of work where they believe that work is rather a “necessary evil” which keeps us away from enjoying and achieving true value in work.
Value in work can be differentiated between “Instrumental value” which is a way to get hold of goods so with regards to work, it has instrumental value because when you work you receive certain goods or benefits such as money, internet usage, friends etc. and that can only be obtained in work. The second meaning of value in work is “Intrinsic value” which is something that has value in itself. Therefore according to the definition of work being, “a means to attaining an income and, through that income, many other ends that we need and desire. (Desjardins,J. 2009) The problem with the classical view is the fact that even though work does have instrumental value, that instrumental value can be broken down to work enabling us to earn money, achieve psychic goods such as adventure and satisfaction and then social goods such as reputation and mutual respect. I will admit that there are some types of work which do not allow you to find any meaning in them and which do not have intrinsic value but it does not mean that employees therefore do not have a right to have meaningful work.
The second problem with regards to the classical view lies in the fact that in this day and age just by receiving a wage it does not necessarily mean that that wage is enough to be able to fulfil the needs of employees. Due to things such as inflation rates and the way they do not correlate with the wage increase will not be able to afford their needs anymore. A study of inflation internationally shows that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) specifies that inflation of 95% since 1982. (Inflation Data. com, 2012). This explicitly hows that goods aren’t as cheap as they used to be and so by work simply being a means to pay for your needs is not a sound argument and the fallacy of hasty generalisation has been committed. A counter argument which could be raised would be that employees should therefore live well in their means and the basic needs would be affordable according to their income belts. The many reasons why some people land themselves in debt is due to them not living within their means. These actions are not stemmed from the fact that their jobs or work is not meaningful.
In the United States of America the consumers in the economy were in debt of over $2 trillion in 2010 alone. (Consumer Debt Statistics, 2011). The argument raised above is valid but in the same light that even though consumers and employees cannot afford basic needs it cannot be because some of them spend beyond their income belt therefore they do not deserve to be provided with meaningful work. Work is more than just a means to an end but rather it has intrinsic value as well. The Human Fulfilment Model This model denotes that work can have intrinsic value thus being an end in itself.
Taking a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs according to the psychology point of view it can be seen that at the five different stages of needs work can aid you in reaching your optimum point of the pyramid, Self-Actualisation. The intrinsic value gained from work differs for people across the world and so it can offer a varied list of intrinsic value such as, mutual affection, security, cooperation, success etc. (Frankena,W. 1973). Karl Marx stated that work, amongst other things, would lead to alienation and exploitation towards workers because they are alienated from the products they produce and also from their own fulfilling activities.
He derived that workers are not really free at work. (Marx K, 1844) The problem with this theory is that this is the problem with all forms of work because many jobs require most of your time in order to perform well. In Forbes magazine it shows the hardest working countries according to the number of hours worked on average in one year who are OECD members. South Korea came in first with roughly 2400hours. (Olson,P. 2008) The Liberal view seems to oppose the views conveyed by Marx stating that they believe that workers should not be suppressed to make their own decisions eg.
Choosing to work for money so that they can purchase other goods. They also state that if that is not possible then at least the choices given to them regarding work are, “as humane as possible. ”(Walsten & Eilperin, 2011) This view was supported by Norman Bowie who created the “Norman Bowie’s 6 Principles” These principles include: * “Work [enabling] a person to develop her rational capacities” * “Work should not interfere with a person’s moral development” * “Work should not be paternalistic (i. e. nterfere with the worker’s conception of how she obtains happiness)” * “Work should be freely chosen and allow workers to exercise autonomy on the job” * “Work that deadens autonomy or undermines rationality is immoral” * “Salaries should be enough to exercise independence, provide for well-being & satisfaction of some desires “ (Bowie, N. 1999) The model continues and says that work can help you attain intrinsic value, and also promote things such as perseverance and curb or dampen laziness and the like.
I do not quite agree with this statement because yes, work could possibly help you achieve these values but it could also just as well not help at all. The doctor-on-a-plane argument arises here where “can” is implied to mean “should. ” According to the Human Fulfilment Model the difference between “can” and “should” must be evaluated carefully so as to not mislead society.
An argument in support of the claim that workers do not have a right to be provided with meaningful work, Employers are assumed to be responsible in helping employees obtain meaningful work but this is not entirely fair because there is no clear cut solution as to how employers would come to a conclusion of how to ensure that employees are achieving meaningful work. (Maslow, A. 970) The different views that are shown and supported by the likes of Karl Marx, Norman Bowie, Joseph Desjardins and many others indicate that even though the opposing views exist it is mostly a mixture of the views would result in a better social outcome rather than using the extreme cases that Employers are entirely responsible or that the employees are solely responsible for acquiring the meaning of work.
In conclusion I would like to state that I do not agree with the argument posed and I believe in the Human Fulfilment Model and its functionalities. Employers have an obligation(whether it be a small one) towards their employees to aid them in achieving meaningful work but the responsibility lies majorly on the employees to help move themselves up the hierarchy of needs.