How much is it worth?

‘There are two types of cost: the cost of actual materials […], called “cost of goods” and the costs incurred every month to run things […] called “overheads”.*
(Tom Hodgkinson)

“The desire for autonomy, for control over our working day and the sense of freedom and self-respect such control provides is a vastly underestimated social aspiration for much of the world’s population.”**
(James Scott)

How much does it cost? and How much is it worth? are totally different questions.

In our quest to have autonomy, develop talent, and live for a purpose greater than ourselves (we want our lives to matter), we can find that it is it’s easier to value hard skills than soft skills.

Douglas McWilliams describes the growth in the so called Flat white Economy in London:

‘There are three factors that brought the FWE to London: the timing and take-up of digital technologies; the speed with which the UK has taken to online retailing and marketing; and the availability of a labour force with a high level of available skills and a high level of creativity.  London has the most creative labour force in the world; creativity is crucial to the digital economy.’^

One of the good things about this is the multi-ethnic nature of this workforce, valuing diversity.  But there’s another “growing economy” which we don’t notice in the same way: the care of the elderly.  Here softer skills are used to care but these are not valued nor remunerated adequately.  Speaking of the university course as more than a commodity, Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber suggest:

‘Perhaps we could temper the course as commodity with course as story.’^^

The same might be a better way of framing our care for those of our society who are living longer – it’s a story we all own.

Some may object that those who have trained hard and long deserve to be valued more.  Perhaps this attitude is why even our politicians appear helpless to change our perceptions of social care, which fails to see how a brilliant carer has developed complex skills though their contact with people – skills many others do not possess and therefore would be denoted as unskilled in.  Those caring are the best ones for showing us how to value what is happening in person to person interaction and caring.  And whilst I focus here on the care of society’s elders, this is about the value we place on the talents and passions we each have developed.  It doesn’t cost much to hire a carer but they are worth the world:

‘All being can correctly and rightly be spoke of with one voice (univocity). […] What I am you also are, and so is the world.  Creation is one giant symphony of mutual sympathy.’*^

This statement from Richard Rohr comes from a story, not from a spreadsheet.

I know, if I were to spend an hour in conversation with you, I would know your worth by the end of it and I hope you would too.

(*From Tom Hodginson’s Business for Bohemians.)
(**James Scott, quoted in Tom Hodgkinson’s Business for Bohemians.)
(^From Douglas McWilliams The Flat White Economy.)
(^^From Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(*^From Richard Rohr’s Eager to Love.)


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