SHARE

The following was originally published on a personal blog, creating an allegory of accountability in society.

It is a quiet day in a little country village, a day like any other. The sun has just broken past the horizon and cleared the hills, painting the valley in warm sunlight, heralding a day of good weather and hopeful productivity. Billy exits his house clutching his head in agony while trying to seek refuge in the settling sight of fresh morning dew.

He had been up all night drinking and playing cards with his friends and was now worrying that he wouldn’t be able to accomplish his job as a baker, the worry compounded by the fact that he may lose customers as a result. Now Billy is in bad condition due to his choice of nightly activities, this predicament has given him two choices. He can either: go to work and try accomplish his set task or stay at home, willing to live with the consequences of not being paid. Billy knows that if the bread isn’t baked, he will receive no income, but he feels that he is willing to stay home and live with the consequences of not working.

It is the same time in the capital (of this fictitious nation that I’m using as an analogy) and the President has just been awoken by his attendant. President Coot has served for two terms, being elected due to his claim that he will build houses for those below the poverty line. That is all well and good, but in the six years he has held the office, he has never fulfilled any of his promises.

Coot gets out of bed and prepares himself for his daily routine of conferences and hollow promises. It is at this time that he realizes that he has a headache due to a late night drinking. Grinning slyly to himself, he goes back to bed; the houses had waited for six years to be built, they could wait a little longer. Coot’s paycheck would keep being cashed like every other day that he continued to prove his promises false.

Coot made a promise to build houses; is that not different from a business contract or a job? In fact, that is his very job. A President’s job is to raise the well being of his nation. So what if he doesn’t do that? He still gets paid. Billy the baker was not paid when he decided that he was not in any condition to work and he accepted that. He knew that if he didn’t do his job, he wouldn’t be paid and was willing to live with the consequences of missed income. Coot however, gets paid regardless if he accomplishes his job or not.

Does that really sound fair? Both undertake a job, but only one of them has to live with the consequences of shirking that job. I will answer that question for you: no, no it doesn’t sound fair. When one has to work to live and another can shirk their responsibility, something has gone drastically wrong. In my opinion, we need to start healing this festering wound in our government.

Too many politicians are paid for doing nothing, elected to that position through promises that no one expects them to keep. I don’t know about you, but to me that is one of the saddest facts. We, as a people, have become such pessimists that we expect politicians to take our money when they do nothing to earn it. To me, we need to start rewriting this stereotype.

Politicians need to be held accountable for what they do or more importantly, what they do not do. The times of empty promises as dusty mandates must be brought to an end and the glorified bureaucrats known as politicians must be brought down to what they really are, people; and like all people, must work for a living.

We must bring in a new era, an era when politicians are paid for doing a job and not holding a title. It must be made law that a politician or government figure is only paid once they have fulfilled at least part of their mandate. If we can begin a new era of accountability we will see a great deal more progress and much fewer hollow promises. Politicians will be forced to only make promises they can keep and will keep them if they want to see a dime. Aid us in fulfilling this dream of a fairer system and start feeling better about your vote and the money you are forced to pay to your government.

 

  • Robin Visser

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a shame that some people earn millions for sitting in an office and giving out promises that are not kept while some people actually work for hours in a day, earning whatever pay they get. It’s time that our politicians wake up and do what they actually get paid for.

  • Christiaan Hugo

    It really is sad that people have come to expect this of their government. Hope that it will eventually change.

  • Can I just say what a aid to find somebody who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know easy methods to convey a difficulty to gentle and make it important. More individuals have to learn this and understand this facet of the story. I cant believe youre no more well-liked since you positively have the gift.

  • It’s essentially a story that applies well to most who earn a lot of money. What you described here is basically an argument for socialism. This thing applies to many groups in society – politicians, bankers, investors. These people do not put in half the amount of work that menial labourers put in, but they receive up to a thousand times as much for it, excluding shares and bonuses received for firing as many employees as possible.

    A baker wakes up in the middle of the night to bake for the following morning. His store closes late in the afternoon. A banker wakes up at ten in the morning, goes for lunch with a person whose money he desires to invest in high-risk mortgages, and whose name he might not remember three hours later, takes a car with driver to an office where he listens to some useless management bullshit, returns home late in the afternoon and reads up on the financial crisis he caused.

    Who earns more? In the free market, the latter.

    • Work is not the only factor for gaining wealth. It is also the intelligence to develop a means to make something better. You seem to not understand how stock brokering works. It may seem like an easy job to you but why is it rated as the most stressfull job in existence? Investors provide the funds for people to work, they risk their own hard-earned funds to improve other companies hoping they will get enough money to be able to improve something else. It may not be physically taxing but mentally, it is one of the hardest jobs around and personally I respect anyone who has the balls to do it.

      Bankers are also a useful profession that people have forgotten the importance of due to a few bad eggs. Bankers are people who work at banks. Banks store your money (a service) and invest it (another service) so to make you more money. The wage they take is justifiably earned as they are enacting a service.

      Now bringing up politicians as a facet of the free market truly shows you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. Politicians are of the State, the free market is everything but teh state. When something is paid or interfered with by the state, they are no longer a part of the free market. So I repeat: Politicians are not a facet of the free-market and their outrageous salaries is just what Capitalism is trying to stop.

  • Unfortunately, I understand full well what bankers do, having met some and never having respected any. It is certainly not as much of a mentally stressing job as policemen who have to deal with people having psychotic fits and having a very real risk of losing more than their new chauffeur-driven premium model Mercedes-Benz at a thousandth of the salary.

    Business models where people invest in companies doing actual things are fine. However, much of today’s invested capital is invested in paper, numbers and people’s futures. Both public and private old age pensions will be lowered drastically because bankers gambled and lost. The economy in the Eurozone is stuttering and falling over because of continuous speculation and administrative incompetence. Still, the people who are at the base of this speculation earn millions a year.

    You say I have no clue what I am talking about. However, it was my point to literally draw your argument onto the situation with investment bankers. Additionally, let’s not count the fact that, in most democracies, those with financial means are infinitely more likely to be elected or allowed to serve in almost any office.

    • You speak of the acts of these ‘bad-egg’ bankers as if they were the bastion of the free-market. Stating this proves my earlier statement. The Free-market would not allow these actions. The free market understands that money must be made in a way that you are providing a product or service, when someone does something otherwise, it is no longer a part of the free-market.

      These corrupt bankers are not capitalist, they are cronies. People who take advantage of system for their own gain – corruption. This would not be allowed or even possible under a free market but is only allowed due to pro-business legislation by the state. Capitalism is not pro-business, it is pro-liberty. In fact, businesses hate true capitalism as it forces them into competition which means they have to work harder, think better and charge less.

      • These bankers are at the top of the free market. Large banks throughout the world have the tendency, especially if the government allows them to – not encourages, but does not prohibit – to take advantage of anything people need and turn it into profit for themselves, more often than not at the expense of a giant majority.

        These corrupt bankers are, in Europe and the United States, the product of deregulation of the financial sector. In the current interdependent state of the world’s economy, there is no escaping the current situation through deregulation into radical capitalism, although it’s often held up as a solution by those who would make large profits.

        The world is beyond the stage where one went to a local baker and gave value-backed currency for nutrition. Most transactions, especially in developed countries, now relate simply to numbers, administrative systems and management. However, these can intensively affect lives. If a baker’s business model proves wrong, people will need to travel for an additional mile to find a new baker. If a banking model proves wrong, especially if the failing bank is large, all hell breaks loose and people who have trusted their futures with the bank – as my parents did – end up losing large sums of money or, in the most extreme case, their houses and their employment, things that are intensively linked to subjective feelings of happiness and being accepted in society.