We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The help: dare you work for the super-rich?

Click here to access article by Hannah Betts from the London Evening Standard. (satire) 

(Note: to help you read this piece, which is directed to the Brits who are familiar with this language , you may need to learn a few words which the British rich frequently use like "butling" and "hols".)

This is another contribution to my practice on Saturdays to run articles about our fellow citizens of the One Percent (actually .01 of the 1%, or one out of every 10,000 of us) hoping that by doing this that we don't lose touch with their world and their concerns--you know, to promote understanding. It is important that we become better acquainted so that we can serve them better and make it easier for them to carry out the daily burden of making important decisions, decisions which affect whether we go off to war in foreign lands to kill their enemies, if we have jobs, if we live in a home or under a bridge, if we can afford their health care services, education, etc.

Unfortunately, for some reason they tend to hide their lives from the rest of us behind walls of secrecy, literal walls of guarded gated communities, private clubs, esoteric publications, by traveling with private jets, etc. We should not let that deter us. 

In this Saturday's featured piece we learn of a growing career that you might well want to consider given the fact that jobs are disappearing in Western countries. Those who own our economies logically seek greater profits by moving their enterprises to cheap labor areas of the world; and where possible, replace us with robots. But those of you in the 99 Percent should not despair--this is merely opening up other opportunities. You see, capitalism works.

From watching TV the rich apparently have rediscovered  the delights of having people serve their every personal need just like in the days of yore. This is good news for us. They now want to emulate the characters on their favorite TV program, Downton Abbey, by hiring people who will attend to their many personal needs in a suitably obsequious manner. Of course, this highly romanticized TV version of aristocratic life has very little to do with reality. Then domestic helpers were treated little better than slaves and sexual abuse was rampant, but the lords of the manor in these British TV programs featured on PBS are always extremely virtuous. It's clear that Downton Abbey serves the fantasies of the current ruling class who want to view themselves as virtuous as well as powerful.

This article is fairly realistic about serving the ruling class of today, and is probably helpful in evaluating such prospects by considering the rewards as well as the downsides to working for our masters.
Butling is a 24/7 career, akin to becoming a human Swiss Army knife with acute OCD. Silver service, exemplary etiquette and the right sort of demeanour are a given. One may also have to embrace cooking, gardening, driving, child supervision, styling, art preservation, gun maintenance and minor psychiatric care.

Other roles may be more obscure. One soul of discretion confides that he has to ensure that guest bedrooms are stocked with tampons and condoms, and take care of their disposal once used. Another that one of her roles was to: ‘Keep wife and mistresses apart at house parties — difficult when the latter appeared in the plural.