Society in general values and rewards those who make money for others. It does not value nor reward those who enrich others’ lives.
Of course there are exceptions to these broad statements and there are a lot of people in between, but consider these points:
If you trade in shares and other people’s money, produce and sell harmful recreational substances (tobacco, alcohol, etc), even design and sell weapons to enable yet more harm to be done in the world, you will receive high financial rewards, status and influence through having the ears of the political establishment.
You will be told that you are doing essential work for the nation’s prosperity, creating jobs and wealth – some of this is true, at least in the system as it is now. Shareholders and colleagues will thank you and award you generous bonuses and share options. You will be able to take things like a home, one or more cars, travelling on a whim (work permitting), private health care, an ample pension and so on for granted.
Even if you do lose your job, you will not really be poor, not like those people in the other postcode. Broadly speaking, regardless of your competence or the consequences of your actions, unless you’ve done something really stupid or incompetent, you will be able to get another post via your influential networks and impressive cv; a decent recruitment agency should sort that anyway.
You will acquire the means to make a lot of good and socially useful things happen, though that may not always fit neatly with the business or investment plan. When you look back on your career, you should see a list of progress and achievements, material and professional. You may never see the actual fruits of your labours, except on news broadcasts or in statistics, but you can’t be held personally responsible for all those things. You can mostly ignore the bleatings of the ‘little people’ who think this is all so unfair, after all, you move among the ‘people who matter’.
If, instead, you choose to do something that reduces the suffering of others, improves the appearance and quality of things, creates beauty rather than destroys it, helps people to grow inwardly, or if you keep a good home and raise children to become better human beings, deliver education and understanding of the world, or care for people in their sickness, ageing and dying, you will be praised for your good work, thanked even. You may get a reputation for being indispensable, reliable, ‘salt of the earth’, creative and ‘gifted’, committed to your ‘vocation’. People will say things like “I don’t know how you do it, I could never do that, I’d lose patience (etc)”.
Occasionally people will tell you how you helped change their lives for the better. It’s good to know that, sometimes, flowers spring up where you have stepped; you will be able to look back knowing that the fruits of your labours were healthy, nourishing and sweet and contained the seeds of future harvests that others might sow. This is valuable.
You will be looked down upon in a kindly, condescending, way but told you are doing essential work for the fabric of society, which is true. If you ask for that to be reflected in your pay, so that you can buy a house, an efficient car, feed and educate your children well, pay the bills without worrying every month, perhaps occasionally enjoy a revitalizing and inspiring holiday…
Please, be serious now, if labour costs go up, how can we hope to achieve ‘growth’ and pay off the Defecit?
We’re all in it together, after all.