Sunday, June 3, 2012

Working class jobs

The market economy normally works by making us feel inferior so we buy things we don't want. But sometimes it works in the opposite way by making people feel special when they really should be feeling inferior. It does this so it can maintain a ready supply of cheap labour from a highly educated pool of workers. This helps explain why white Melburnians, who usually spend years pursuing tertiary education, are willing to take low paying jobs at cinemas, cafes, bookshops and record stores. Sometimes these forms of employment are given exotic-sounding names, like barista, for what are in reality just basic entry level jobs. It's sort of like in high school when the kids who worked at McDonalds would wear their work belts everywhere with that golden belt buckle across a striped band the payoff for getting paid about 7 bucks an hour.

Normally when a group of people in a society do not have the earning potential to compete with the higher classes, there are three things they can do: (1) band together and overthrow the higher classes; (2) educate themselves so they are able to join the higher classes, or (3) carve out a niche of superiority via sophisticated consumer choices. But instead of using all of the advantages middle class upbringings confer and doing any of the above, white Melburnians choose to drop down into the working classes and then proceed to act as if they are better than everyone. In Australia nobody finds this strange because we like to pretend class doesn't exist. In this way, white Melburnians convince themselves they are undermining the entire system while the system maintains itself on a steady supply of highly educated labour willing to work for peanuts. Melbourne white people are now so poor they can't even afford gears on their bikes! Meanwhile, many of their wrong type counterparts take highly paid and/or heavily unionised jobs in construction, mining and labouring but white Melburnians will tell you that exchanging real capital for cultural capital is worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Just moved to Melbourne recently and love the blog - you won me over with my recent portuguese tart experience