October 22, 2014

The worth of a guest worker

Since our nation is now one fourth crowded with guest workers, this is worth telling. The worth of a guest worker is fabricated in our own mind. If you want to believe they are needed, then we need them but if you think they are dispensable that would also be not far from the truth. Our minds conjure up a list of needs as we go through life. Modern media, internet and business adverts all push us to increase that list. And as we become more affluent or think we are, this list keeps on growing. Yes, a figment of our imagination. It is in the eyes and mind of the beholder.


Take for example the use of the household helper that we employ. The retort would be that we need them to take care of the chores of cooking cleaning and washing. That is true and we can convince ourselves to spend half our meager income to employ the foreign worker and then invite into our midst, as many have, the agony of managing them, for it’s a given that these workers would also tend to maximize their utility by doing the least they can do. Gone are the days of sincere and dedicated live-ins who had become part of the family. The result of today’s changed circumstance is that it is not too long before we are so exasperated that we decide to pack him or her off with ticket, three month pay, etc. and say also goodbye to all the cost paraphernalia that the State requires us to pay or forfeit. Then there is the tedious process again of getting another person to fill the vacancy as if that will solve our problem! 

And the cycle goes on. Yet, if we look at modernization -- something we all seem to want to take part in -- there are ways for us to make our lives much easier. The washing machine, the stove-top cooking, the packaged and ready to use ingredients on the shop shelf, and the vacuum cleaner or the easy to use mops all are there if we can only push down our ego a notch and begin using these ourselves rather than have a foreign worker to turn the knobs or push the buttons on these technological wonders. Throw in a dishwasher and the washing up chores also can be eliminated 90 per cent. So as they say if there is a will there is a way, but our ego comes in the way. Not to speak of the perhaps half a billion dollars or so foreign exchange that is annually taking flight out of our nation. But that is another story that merits dedicated telling.

2 comments:

Mohamed Saeed said...

Good reading

o economista anĂ´nimo said...

I agree with the fundamentals articulated, especially when some households have multiple guest workers doing the same tasks. Perhaps the houses are too big to be taken care of by owners or perhaps the members of the household are far too occupied with work to do chores. Increase in capital (as what's stated) is an option but there is a dilemma behind it, which is that these amazing machinery comes with unaffordable prices for consumers,so having a guest workers may provide higher utility and low opportunity costs. Low in terms of utility.

-o economista anĂ´nimo-