Success should be shared around not seen as a game of monopoly.

Has your child ever come home from school declaring “I want to get into business because I want to create as many jobs as possible for poor people.”

You don’t have to answer because the philosophy informing the current definition of ‘success’ in any chosen career begins with self interest. This credo of self interest is promoted for the greater part by our system educationally and politically.

This self interest and its promotion ultimately fail our society.

Why is it that our educational and political system fall down so badly when it comes to inculcating in the minds of young people that ‘personal success’ should carry with it at all times the tag of ‘civic responsibility.’

If young people hear only one message – that success amounts to self aggrandisement and the accumulation of personal wealth, why would emerging generations see themselves as custodians of ‘civic responsibility?’

This alternative way of seeing one’s role in society demands turning the current notion of ‘success’ on its head.

Why do we not hear our politicians, religious leaders and teachers imploring us to rewrite out thinking? Should one’s personal success not be moulded in a philosophy of care for our fellow human being?

In the past week I had three pairs of shoes soled. Historically my old shoes would have ended up in the bin.

Our local cobbler wants this recession to continue. Business is booming for him. He has to get a living too.

Previously was I concerned about the cobbler? The answer is no. It is not too late to learn.

Eamonn Mallie. Eamonn Mallie

  • Driftwood

    Why do you need 3 pairs of shoes? I bought an excellent pair of New Balance trainers 4 years ago in TK Maxx for a tenner (rrp£90), still wearing them.

    Cobblers. That’s what your’e talking sunshine, not about.

    How’s the private art collection coming along, you must be up to Goering standards by now?

  • Alias

    Bill Gates vs. the United Workers Cooperative of Bleeding Hearts, Newry Branch…

  • Reader

    Eamonn Mallie: This self interest and its promotion ultimately fail our society.
    Right now the bigger problems are multi-generational defeatism and a sense of entitlement. Because at least business men do create jobs, as a side effect if nothing else.
    As for the cobbler – what’s your take on the balance between the excesses of the consumer society and the new principles of reduce/reuse/recycle? Where does the cobbler fit in to that equation?
    And the cobbler isn’t being half so negative as you seem to imply. I bet he’s still hoping that people round these parts will be wearing shoes ten years from now. Me too.
    Maybe your cobbler will become an extreme altruist and invent cheap footwear for the common good. Unfortunately, not many people will benefit from the cheap shoes because he can’t expand his business without making a profit on the shoes he sells. And you don’t like that sort of thing.

  • The Raven

    “Why is it that our educational and political system fall down so badly when it comes to inculcating in the minds of young people that ‘personal success’ should carry with it at all times the tag of ‘civic responsibility.’”

    This is a fair point. Completely left-field, I know, but my outside-work-interests are environmental. I have yet to encounter a small business that gives a toss about environmental impact of their activities. I’m hoping this is going to change soon.

    I have, however, been working with a man who had to (later that week) tell 10 of his 20 staff that they were out of a job. People whom he had worked with since he set the company up. I could have sworn he was going to go home and put a shotgun in his mouth. He fully knew the social and family implications of what he had to do to ensure the other ten got to keep their jobs. “In a bad way” wouldn’t do it justice to describe how he was.

    I’ve seen businesses in rural communities contribute heavily to small local GAA grounds. On the flipside, and much more quietly, I’ve known Protestant businesses keep Orange Halls afloat. I’ve seen both sides giving to community festivals and facilities, often without requirement for publicity.

    Similarly, I’ve been around managers in much bigger businesses who’s only thought – publically voiced too – was “better them getting the push than me”. I’ve seen some business owners laugh out loud as they tell tales of flytipping, flouting planning rules, tumbling a listed building for “luxury apartments” (read: cages) and much more. One senior manager in a quarrying operation used to enjoy telling stories of firing men simply “cos I was in a bad mood that morning”.

    Success does get shared around – but I think everyone is right to expect just a little more.

  • o’connor

    Yeah right. Name one communist country that shared the success equally, or even at all.

    Unless you live in a shack on the worst estate in the country, you made sure your own success came first.

    If there is one thing I cannot abide it’s the champagne socialist telling the rest of us what we should be doing to spread the weath around..

  • Glencoppagagh

    I’d be overjoyed if my child came home saying “I want to get into business” for any motive.
    There are far too few making that choice in this society and probably even fewer parents encouraging it. Far too many more want to be drawn into the warm, generous embrace of the state as evidenced by the multitude desperate to become doctors and police officers.

  • HeinzGuderian

    🙂 Exactly what I was thinking. Three pairs of shoes indeed. Come the day of the revolution comrade,your Three pairs of shoes will cost you dearly !!!!!

  • Driftwood

    Over 200 applicants for every overpaid Fire service post.

    Yet the Army struggles to recruit on half the pay of these scammers. France uses its armed forces as firefighters, on army pay, not as here in the UK where the Fire Service and joke PSNI tops the list of easy money dossers.

    As to Comrade Eamonn’s main point, perhaps he could elucidate a few examples of his own altruism?

  • The Raven

    Of course, why *would* anyone get into business here? I recently posted about someone in the public sector who was – with a little help from Prince’s Trust – nothing but obstacles from every from the Inland Revenue to Land & Property Services. It takes someone very special to start their own business, undoubtedly. But there could be far more if we made a little more enticing and easier. Not easy, just easier.

  • Seymour Major

    Eamon,

    What utter nonsense.

    What about the shoe trader who is losing business because they cant sell any shoes during the recession. Doesn’t he have a living too?

  • “Why is it that our educational and political system fall down so badly when it comes to inculcating in the minds of young people that ‘personal success’ should carry with it at all times the tag of ‘civic responsibility.’”

    Well, education these days is all about gaining competitive advantage. When Blair said that education was our best economic policy he signalled the reduction of learning to the imperatives of industry and commerce. Schools, college and universities hardly considered institutions that should be extolling social, civic or democratic virtues. These days the skills agenda and employability rule, OK

  • Mack

    Eamon –

    Has your child ever come home from school declaring “I want to get into business because I want to create as many jobs as possible for poor people.”
    You don’t have to answer because the philosophy informing the current definition of ‘success’ in any chosen career begins with self interest. This credo of self interest is promoted for the greater part by our system educationally and politically.

    That’s a leftist interpretation of capitalism. Which is part of the problem. You can bet your boots that entreprenuers are proud of the people they employ. And how would a business get customers that wasn’t focused on meeting a human need? Part of the problem, perhaps, is that the left push an image of the evil monopolistic corporation taking advantage of people (profit before people), but no such business can survive in a competitive environment – customer first!

    While businesses live and die via competition, trade – the very life blood of capitalism, is at it’s core co-operative. But don’t expect educators in the protected sectors of academia, and our schools, or left-wing journalists to tell you that. The good companies do, the problems they solve, the lives they safe – are very rarely celebrated..

  • Mack

    Incidentally, by giving the cobbler your custom, you boost his business. By denying it to the shoe manufacturers & retailers you hurt theirs. Either act is equally altruistic / co-operative (as trade is at it’s core), the only difference is you are more aware of the altruism of helping the cobbler as you have met him personally.

  • Mack

    Not that I’m accusing of you being a ‘left-wing’ journalist (nothing wrong with that either) – it’s that left-wing journalists are part of the cabal that promotes that view of capitalism as the raw pursuit of self-interest above all else.

  • Driftwood

    Sort of think we already get that Mack, see TK Maxx post above.
    But know what you mean, even if Eamonn doesn’t.