[On Labour, its Day, and Other Imperatives]
By Dr Canisius BANDA Development Activist
On days like Labour Day, we must deeply reflect on the origins, well-being and future of work. Through such careful reflection, we must then fashion a future that is harmonious for all concerned with reference to work/labour and workers. A curious and noteworthy phenomenon is that nearly all political parties in Zambia acknowledge God as the supreme authority of all guidance.
This is encouraging, God being the embodiment of THE SOURCE.
And yet, nearly all their manifestos do NOT accurately reflect this acknowledgement. Note that anything that is NOT premised or founded on God will fail. All conflict/war is a product of disobedience, a consequence of the violation of God’s own principles, a manifestation of existential disequilibrium. Before God, all things have value, and all things are connected, one BENEFITTING the other. Balance is the Universal principle that governs all existence.
ALL people must work. It follows then that anyone who does not use his or her acquired knowledge, competencies or skills to create income or wealth for his or her own survival violates this law of nature. And anyone who DOES NOT WORK sins, and will die, for the wages of sin is death. God is very clear on the unemployed. He says that they should NOT eat. It is, therefore, imperative that any leader of people, a president or otherwise, must create an enabling environment for all people to work.
As we seek a better world, we shall be required to abandon both capitalism and socialism in their present forms and absoluteness. Both these forms of ideologies as premises for economic culture fail. They both create and lead to social disequilibria. Their failure is intrinsic to the variances that they reflect with the dictates of God. Both are NOT fair. God is FAIR.
All economies of the future in the world must be founded on equity or fairness. All trade must be a function of love for thyself as one would another. All TRADE must be fair. To a significant degree, Zambia’s own economic ills are a product of unfair trade. Take transfer pricing in our mines, for instance. And for as long as there is NO FAIR TRADE in the world, conflict/war will reign, and with it suffering and death.
Capitalism is founded on GREED. Socialism is founded on SLOTH. Both greed and sloth are deadly sins, the others, though not directly mentioned in the Holy Bible, being pride, envy, lust, wrath and gluttony. Sins kill. Capitalism seeks to profit by all means. It is because of this pursuit of Capitalism that it leads to the exploitation of workers. Capitalism is not FAIR to workers. Despite working excellently and hard, a worker under Capitalism is not paid his just/due wages. Getting the most out of a worker for the least pay is its driving spirit. Therefore, various mechanisms are devised and used in Capitalist societies to exploit/defraud the worker as much as is possible all in pursuit of profit. As a way to fight back for his own welfare, it is this exploitation that gave birth to labour unions by the labourer.
Socialism seeks the blanket well-being of all people. On this score alone, it is without equal. However, it also is NOT fair because it exploits one for the benefit of the other. It does not encourage individuals to be responsible for themselves.
Under Socialism regardless of whether you work hard or NOT, your salary will come, you will eat. And this salary is blind to individual workers’ attributes such as excellence, punctuality, commitment to duty or diligence. Whether one labourer is superior to the other, or inferior to the other, they all are treated the same. Through such an approach in Socialist societies, the strong, the brilliant, and the smartest are NOT duly rewarded for their attributes. Instead, they are made to subsidise the weak, idiotic and lazy. By taking away from the diligent and giving to the poor/lazy, Socialism destroys the natural order of responsibility or incentives and flouts the sacred commandment of God that he who does NOT work must not eat. Under Socialism, it does not matter whether you work or not, you will still eat.
An example of a socialist structure in Zambia is the Civil Service. The Civil Service in Zambia is not appropriately sensitive to targets and performance. It is only a grand social welfare scheme not in keeping with business principles. The Civil Service is the biggest loss-making labour organisation in Zambia. It blatantly and perennially rewards mediocrity. Whether you turn up or not, and when you turn up, whether you perform or not, you will still be paid.
Socialism, by subsidising sloth, promotes it. In the end, the whole organisation of labour fails. It is NOT sustainable.
God insists on DUE pay. Each one must be paid in accordance with their input. No one should be made to pay for the sins of another. Each one must take responsibility for themselves. Do NOT eat that which you have not toiled for and harvested, He says.
It follows then that all labour and its organisation must, to the nth degree, reflect fairness. The lazy must not get paid.
And the diligent must get their deserved reward. Employers and employees must enjoy a win-win relationship, cognisant that one’s prosperity is reliant on the others. Both the employer and employee must cherish the factory, seeing it as a co-owned arena for their own survival and prosperity. The quality of products must be a function of love/truth and NOT deception.
To offer the VERY BEST should be the driving spirit of the industry for the quality of all services and goods. What then is the future of labour? The future of labour is neither in capitalism nor socialism. We need a new WORLD ORDER to govern work and workers. The future of labour is FAIRNESS. All labour policies should reflect fairness. The call for fair trade is a Godly one.
And for as long as there is no fair trade in the world, unjust income inequalities and poverty will continue, and as merely a push towards the required default setting of all life, pilferage, conflict and war will never end. Note that when the employer and employee are in conflict, the factory suffers, and eventually, both are destroyed.
Therefore, the new or future economic order of the world must be founded on OBEDIENCE. Each one his just share. Obedience leads to harmony. And all human success is only a product of obedience. We are pilgrims. We glow. Follow us. All people must work. Or die. Ever wondered why the mortality rates are frighteningly high in Zambia? Yes, all culture that is not in conformity with and departs from Universal DICTATES will fail. Take heed.