|It's A Dog's Life|
Dogs, I say with some envy, don't need to work. Buster, a rescue who has been with us since he was nine weeks and is now a grand old 15, watches me from the comfort of his well-padded basket as I dress. It is a little after seven and I have the news on the television. Weather warnings are everywhere. Winds of up to 80 mph, flooding, tidal warnings.
Buster, oblivious, stretches in his basket, makes himself cosy and sighs with contentment. I pat him on the head as I leave and he replies with his eyes 'so long, sucker, don't forget to call by the supermarket and pick up my special senior dog food, you know the one, full of nutrition for the older mutt?'
I hope he is thinking, 'drive safely', because my trip south will be into the teeth of heavy wind and rain.
In capitalist society we have to work, it is the way the system is designed and it does benefit most of us, to a certain extent. As we have said previously the driving force of capitalism is not to meet people's everyday needs but simply to generate profits at an ever accelerating rate.
In this respect, work is no different. So, while people 'need' work to survive, to provide for their families and to support their chosen lifestyle, there is no guarantee that an individual will always be able to find paid employment. That, always, depends on demand and supply and 'needs' of the market.
Something which is about to change profoundly.
Young people, for example, do a great deal of planning around their future career. They have to meet certain standards to qualify for university and may need specific subjects to get onto the course they want. To give themselves the best chance of succeeding they have to plan ahead. But, while we are all planning our futures, the world moves on.
The young lad who served his apprenticeship as an arrow-maker is dismayed to discover that someone has invented the gun, putting most of the fletchers, as they were called, out of business.
Which means at any time in any of our lives we should be evaluating our situations, taking cognisance of changes, re-directing or re-structuring our plans, or simply ripping them up and starting again if necessary. Especially, in these times, of rapid labour market change.
It is the same with the more mature among us. For some strange and esoteric reason there is a bizarre belief that when an individual gets to a certain age they have become less than useless. To think this, is to be more than a bit shortsighted. Some of the sharpest minds I know are over retirement age, and I always think when attending retirement functions, that's a heck of a lot of experience and savvy walking out the door.
That is not to say, of course, that some people don't just want to draw a line under their working lives and go off and do the things they have waited so long to have the freedom to do. Yet, for others, the automatic ejection from the workforce comes too soon and is not welcomed - it is a very individual moment.
There are many who tell me that they are ready to wind the pedals a little slower but that they don't want to stop all together.
But, as we intimated above, the poltico-economic system that rules all our lives is not designed to meet our individual needs. Instead it is geared to meet its own voracious appetite for generating ever-increasing amounts of money at a faster speed, hence we don't really count at all.
Our feelings are of no concern to the system, whether we want to work full-time or part-time mean nothing, our lives are configurated by the demands and supply of the system we belong to and inextricably linked to health, social care available, welfare and pensions ( all of which are government interventions).
As I intimated above, I believe we are now living through a time of rapid change - see No Sleep Till Future. Not change or the cliched recovery we hear about all the time, but, in fact, a readjustment of the capitalist engine which will change all our working lives quite profoundly in the near future and that will be one of my next blogs.
As I leave the house I am immediately caught by a gust of wind and then as I make my way to my car, only a few yards away, I am subject to cold, heavy, driving rain.
I clamber into the car and look up. My dog is at the window, he is waving his little paw, and then he signs to me that he is still sleepy and going back to his bed, tilting his head to the side supported by his paws. How I wish I could join him, why it's barely light...but I have work to do....
(Written at Westmorland Services ( I pulled off when the traffic had slowed to a crawl and found that everyone else had the same idea, it was packed), M6 Motorway, Southwaite Services M6 Motorway, Crosby, Liverpool January 2,3 and 4, 2014)