Over-achievement: Sinful?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by DIY, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. DIY
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    DIY Rookie

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    Is over-achievement a sin?

    Here's what I don't mean by that: 'Is over-achievement listed as a sin in some book of law?'
    To reiterate, the above question is irrelevant.

    Here's what I do mean by that: 'Is over-achievement a practice that is harmful to one or many people in a given society?'

    Here's a short story to illustrate my reason for asking:

    At a certain point in time, ten men work in a field, planting and harvesting crops by hand. These ten men do the work of ten men, and reap the benefits of ten men, and each keeps one tenth of the spoils, because each did one tenth of the work. Each of the ten 'deserves' one tenth: he put in one tenth, thus he gets out one tenth.

    At a later point in time, one of the men has a great idea. He goes and cuts down a tree, cuts the pieces up, and creates a plow. He goes out and expends the exact same amount of energy he had before - one tenth of a share of work - but manages to plant half the crops. The field is only so large, so the other 9 men are left with 5 shares of work that is left to do - each does one eighteenth of the work, and thus only expends one eighteenth of the normal amount of energy. One man does a full day's work, and 9 men do partial work and enjoy the afternoon off, because there was simply not enough work to do.

    So all the spoils still exist. All the benefits are still reaped. But because one man planted half the crop - with no extra energy involved on his part - one man 'deserves' half the spoils - he put in half, he gets out half. The other 9 men now get out less than they would have, when no one worked any harder than normal.

    Thus we have a problem. The plowman accomplished more than he needed to do. He hasn't stolen product; he has stolen work. By our definition of 'deserve', he really only deserves a tenth of the product; he only put in a tenth, he should get out a tenth. Why the disparity? Because the amount of product he created no longer equates to the amount of work he did.

    You could say that he put in extra work to make a plow - but you could also say the plow itself is part of the spoils. Thus that extra work is already accounted for.


    The question, rephrased, is this: is it a sin to steal work?

    Let's open this up: not just in the case of the influence of technology. This could apply to any time one person does more work than is necessary, at the expense of another's ability to work. Maybe someone does overtime and finishes someone else's tasks, depriving them of paid hours the next day. Maybe a woman works extra hard - takes care of her own accounting - so that she doesn't have to hire extra help at the office for bookkeeping.

    Is it a sin to overachieve?
     
  2. Ringel05
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    Ringel05 Diamond Member

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    Your story is a perfect example of a false dichotomy. But whatchagonnado? :dunno:
     
  3. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    And now that only 6 men are needed, what ought to be done to those now unemployed workers?

    Should they starve?
     
  4. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    If idiocy was a sin, the OP would be in trouble with the Big Guy.
     
  5. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    So how does someone do the put in the same effort and do 5xs the work?

    The math doesn't compute.

    And that's why the innovative worker should buy his own land and reap his own reward.
     
  6. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    And no, being industrious is not a sin. Being idle and lazy is though.
     
  7. Ringel05
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    Ringel05 Diamond Member

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    Clear and work more fields?

    :cool:
     
  8. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Crazy idea, eh?
     
  9. DIY
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    Ok the idea that we can just find another field eludes the metaphor and defeats the point of this example. Let's pretend - for arguments sake - that we're dealing with a society where all the fertile land is accounted for (like the known Earth).

    The point: even if there is enough food, there may not be enough jobs. Even in a world devoid of corruption or laziness, there would inevitably exist this logistical problem, as long as innovation persisted.
     
  10. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Metaphors are worthless if they aren't comparable to reality.

    There will always be work for us to do. We just need to find it.
     

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