Wednesday 19 February 2014

Havamal Snippets 126: Being your own boss is preferable

Autarky and autonomy are preferable to 'enforced' division of labour.  In this world every man works at what he loves.  The Ancient Greeks used to elect men to roles in the government based on ballots because they knew that as soon as people had a vested interest in remaining in the government then it would become corrupted.  This may be similar in that people who have a vested interested in being shoe makers or whatever are somewhat corrupt because their entire life is dependent on remaining in work.  If they lose that job then they are, to be blunt, screwed.  This can be seen in companies that manufacture 'designed to fail' (designed obsolescence) goods that break after a short period of time: because they have a vested interest in remaining in business.
Unfortunately, if, and this is a very big if, this extends to all the various positions of society, then it means that complex civilisations with people in fixed positions (like a politician or shoe maker or electrician or whatever) who have a 'vested interest' in remaining in that position will inevitably produce shoddy goods (either consciously or sub-consciously), which will not benefit society.  Eventually all of these shoddy goods produced as a result of 'vested interests' and corruption would break civilisation causing it to come crashing down.  The optimist in me sees that this amassing of corruption is unlikely so long as people prefer an honest living as opposed to a dishonest on.  And as we've managed to keep civilisation developing for a few years so far, I doubt that civilisation will come crashing down because of vested interests and corruption (although it will probably need a good clearing out soon, like a decayed forest needs a good fire to burn away the ossified & disease prone trees so that the new ones can grow).
Ráðumk þér Loddfáfnir
en þú ráð nemir
njóta mundu ef þú nemr
þér munu góð ef þú getr
skósmiðr þú verir
né skeptismiðr
nema þú sjálfum þér sér
skór er skapaðr illa
eða skapt sé rangt
þá er þér böls beðit             
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
be [6] not [5] a shoe-maker
or a shaft-maker,
except for yourself alone;
if the shoe is badly made
or the shaft bent,
then misfortune is in store for you.

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