Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DIGNITY OF LABOR



Labor or work comes in many kinds just as it is done in many ways through many means as well as for many purposes.  So is it that work/labor is more compound and complex than  usually understood and commonly considered.  But as to its specification as far as genre is concerned, there are but two kinds of labor in general, i.e., one mental and the other physical.  The first is done with intellectual ability as its basis and engine.  The second is done with physical strength as its source and premise.  Let it be said though that there is no mental labor that does not usually require physical potential one way or another – just as there is no physical work that needs no intellectual effort one way or another as well.  In other words, both the human mind and the human body complement each other in human labor/work – in various degrees and ways.  But then, let it be noted and affirmed that as distinct intellectual work requires more mental know-how, so is it that hard physical labor needs more biological strength – all as a matter of course in the realm of ground realities.

So it is said that no matter what people say and how the world looks at it, the truth of the matter is that the dignity of labor applies to both basically mental effort as well as primarily physical endeavor.  Reason:  Intellectual work as well as physical labor are done by human persons gifted with the same inherent human dignity and endowed with the same basic human rights.  This is objective truth – irrespective of what custom and tradition, culture and belief say.  Society however, looking at the mental qualifications or the physical capacities of workers in the realm of socio-economic realities, attributes more financial worth to the former (mental) compared to the latter (physical).  And so it is that while the former are usually called “employees”, the latter are “laborers/workers”.  Not only that while the former receive “salaries”, the latter however get simply “wages”.  It would be interesting to imagine what happens when someone  purely does mental ventures without any physical exertion or does purely physical work without any mental application.  Strictly speaking, while the former is for angelic creatures, the later is for brute animals.  In both cases, the human person – endowed with body and mind – is excluded therefrom.

There is really no attempt here to change realities, to alter actualities in conjunction with the appreciation and consequent compensation of employees and laborers/workers.  This is simply meant to say and confirm the following objective truths, considering the “Dignity of Labor” squarely anchored on human dignity:  One, let society in general neither look up that high at employees nor look down that low at laborers/workers whereas they are all human agents rendering their respective human services.  Two, let not capital make so much difference in esteem and appreciation between employees and laborers/workers as if the former have more human dignity than the latter.  Three, let not there be a whale of difference in their compensations – considering that they all have to pay the same price for the same essential consumer goods like food and drinks, gasoline and electricity – water included.