Monday, November 24, 2008

Honest and hardworking individuals are foolish

Today one of my students brought up a viewpoint that really interests but aggravates me, especially because I believed he may be on to something.

He feels that many of the problems in Chile such as theft and other crime, are due indirectly to low wages in the sense that people who are honest, good people that earn low wages eventually become seen as "foolish," especially by their children who are affected and frustrated by their parents economic situation. They see the little payoff for their parents good actions and begin to see other activities that involve lying, cheating, and stealing as more advantageous or strategic in the long run. There seems to be very little reward for people who want to do things the right way and the younger generation learns that hard work, good morals, and determination don't necessarily bring you advantages in life.

(*edit- I do agree with this for the most part, the part I'm not sure I want to commit to is the causal relationship and singling this out as the only factor)


Mamacita Chilena said...

I have thought about this SO many times. There is no Chilean dream and the system truly does seem to penalize those who work hard. It really is a vicious circle isn't it?

lydia said...

totally, and unfortunate. it seems to go against a lot of the life morals i feel like i learned as a kid. and it gets to me every time I want to tell one of the lazy drunk punk teens harassing me for money to "get a job"... I don't think I would follow my own advice if I were one of them.

Emily said...

Rodolfo has a friend who grows and sells weed every year, making a few hundred lucas to support his carretes for a couple months (the rest of the year his parents give him money, that's a whole different story about parenting skills). He isn't studying or working, and while he says he wants to get a job he doesn't make much effort - why bother working long days for very little pay when he can get far more money for far less effort and no bad consequences?

Sara said...

I think your student is on to something, but unfortunately, it also seems way more complicated than that.

Maybe the young people don't just see from their parents, but friends, and well an entire country that is kept down by working way to hard, way to long for really low wages.

Then if you add in politics...

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