Covid Chronicles, Day 16

Circuit Breaker – Day 16

Normally I write about my experiences but today I had none, since it was my day off and I stayed at home battling anxiety. So I’ll just write about what I spent last night thinking about.

Out of all workers, the 20% of people still commuting to work are the essential workers. These 20% of workers provide 80% of the services that keep our country running. Yet, it is probably true that these essential workers receive less pay than non-essential workers. We pay people more for work that’s not really needed. What a weird society we are.

I got to thinking this when I realised that one of the icons of Singapore, Marina Bay Sands, is completely shut down because the whole thing is non-essential.

What if we flipped it around so that essential workers and non-essential workers exchanged salaries? What if the income earned by the non-essential workers gets distributed among the essential workers instead? And the income earned currently by essential workers gets paid to the non-essential workers instead?

That would be really putting our money where our mouth is — paying essential workers what they are really worth, instead of just clapping for them.

In this way, essential work becomes highly paid, highly valued by the society, and non-essential work is lowly paid since it’s, y’know, not essential.

And in times like this pandemic, fewer people would be out of a job. It also means less reliance on foreigners to do our essential work for us. We wouldn’t need such a large work force, since apparently 80% of workers are not really needed anyway, and because fewer people would want to do non-essential work now since it pays less and is worth less to society.

That would solve a lot of problems we currently have: overpopulation, food security, job security, income inequality, overreliance on migrant workers, work-life balance, diabetes and obesity. It would probably cause one main problem: rich people will migrate out of Singapore and we’ll all be financially poorer.

But really, what is wealth? Is it only financial? Or is it happiness? Health? Community? Time? Self-sufficiency?

Image credit: someformofhuman, via Wikipedia

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