Inverting the Economic and Status Pyramid

I think I was fortunate to grow up in South Wales, on the edge of the coalfield, where I was taught that the people who risked their lives digging coal were to be admired. I was just in the graveyard where my parents are buried there, and noticed a number of graves of miners killed in ‘tragic accidents‘ in the nearby Penallta colliery, the mine I have been down on a visit.

It made me think how badly we need to change whom we admire and get away from our celebrity culture. We eat food, drink clean water, don’t drown in our own sewage, drive cars, live in houses, have possessions, because working people work and make these things, mine minerals, or provide services. I have a healthy respect for those who create the organizations that allow working people to provide these goods and services, and have no problems, if the managers in these organizations get some extra for the challenge of creating value add businesses or governmental organizations. I do have a problem with the rewards becoming massively disproportional and the result of a rigged casino. And I do think the main role of managers is to get blocks out of the way of those who create value with their hands and brains: the workforce.

So I thought I would list some of the people we should be admiring and in doing so, do my bit for inverting the pyramid. It is time all school children went into a factory or down a mine or on a farm, so they don’t think stuff comes from nowhere, and that we don’t live in a post industrial universe; just one in which we have been dumb enough to send much industrial work to other countries.

  • Water workers who provide us with clean water and sewage workers who get rid of our crap, literally. (I did some work with these good folk in my local city)
  • Nurses and front line doctors who look after our health (and hospital porters/orderlies as I once was one of those)
  • Assembly line workers who build things at line speed (I have done a few shifts of that and worked with them for nearly a decade)
  • Farm workers who grow stuff and work in all weathers
  • Miners who dig our needed minerals and oil rig workers who fuel all we do
  • Engineers who design the complex machinery that replaces human muscle and back breaking manual work
  • and of course printers who make the books I love reading
  • And many others I could mention

I have a healthy regard for all these good folk who in my experience are worth ten thousand celebrities who do nothing for us, except be celebrities.


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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