Simple Differences

The bright sunny day is a great reason to get out into the park, which is where I saw a work crew trimming trees and so stopped to watch for a while. As I looked on I recalled a similar situation in Jakarta where a large tree had become old and dangerous and needed to be removed.

The stark difference between the working conditions of two men doing the same job seemed to me as good a metaphor for the differences between the developed and the rest of the world as I could find.

Many commodities are cheap in Europe, America et al, because the basic infrastructure we expect and demand in our workplace safety equipment is not even a dream in the developing world, except possibly for high-end industries.

The man on the right is not ignorant of the danger in his daily job; it’s simply that he has no other option. He, like the man on the right trims trees with a chain saw. For the man on the left it’s a safe secure job, while the guy on the left is a dare-devil, who rightly accepts the watching crowds applause on the completion of his work.

Safe working conditions that I’ve encountered for most employment in developing countries are almost non-existent and when there are better conditions, this is due to the moral compass of the employer, not the government.

When we hear that people in poorer countries want to live like us, it’s not the ability to spend money that is of paramount importance to these people, but the ability to earn a living without fear.

as an after thought, the guy on the right is not wearing any shoes, one slip and it’s all over.


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