I noticed the following today in an essay that George Orwell wrote in 1942:
” . . . . What are the workers struggling for? Simply for the decent life which they are more and more aware is now technically possible. Their consciousness of this aim ebbs and flows.
All that the working man demands is what these others would consider the indispensable minimum without which human life cannot be lived at all. Enough to eat, freedom from the haunting terror of unemployment, the knowledge that your children will get a fair chance, a bath once a day, clean linen reasonably often, a roof that doesn’t leak, and short enough working hours to leave you with a little energy when the day is done.”
More than seventy years have passed since Orwell wrote this. Have things changed? Speaking about conditions in Australia, I remember when we arrived in Australia in 1959 pretty much all this was available to the worker, and I mean to every worker. Today not all this is still available to every worker, and the workers who still have jobs that pay enough for a decent living, well a lot of these workers do constantly have to live in fear of losing their job and not being able to get another job. And how many working hours are the norm these days in Australia?
Orwell calls it “the indispensable minimum without which human life cannot be lived at all”. He is talking here about a ‘decent life’ for the workers. During the so called ‘cold war’ period, our governments were able to guarantee workers that much. What has changed?