Mervyn Martian and Edgar Earthling discuss jobs

Mervyn: Edgar, what is a ‘job’?

Edgar: It’s task or a set of tasks that an employer pays you to complete. The money you receive pays for your food, housing, clothing etc.

M: But I keep hearing that there aren’t enough jobs, so people have no money.

E: Well, they get some money from the Government until they can find another job.

M: But not enough money to buy the things they could buy before?

E: Correct. But this gives them an incentive to look harder for a job.

M: So are there jobs these people could be doing?

E: Not at the moment and the plague is not helping.

M: You humans and your fragile bodies! But if it wasn’t for that there’d be jobs for everyone?

E: No, there are more people than jobs. As we’ve become more efficient we’ve needed less people to do jobs.

M: So people had jobs, now those jobs have gone and are not coming back, and people don’t have enough money to live on?

E: Yes

M: Then why not just create more jobs?

E: There are some new jobs being created but we are never going to have enough jobs for everybody.

M: So why doesn’t the Government just eliminate the surplus people?

E: Because that’s not the way that Earthlings operate, Mervyn.

M: Yes, I’m beginning to understand the depth of your race’s stupidity. So if you have a job you’re fine but if you lose your job you are not fine and you may never find another job, so you’ll always be not fine. Given your illogical objection to matching lives to jobs available, what happens next?

E: Hopefully we find them something useful for them to do; something useful to them and their society.

M: I take it these ‘useful activities’ are not jobs?

E: Well, it would be work but not a job in the old sense?

M: And they would be paid less to do this ‘work’ than if they had a job?

E: Well, yes. But they would have the dignity of work and pride in their contribution to society.

M: But not enough money to properly support them and their families?

E: The Government is looking into that.

M: Agggh, you humans and your magical thinking!

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