Why does Ellie Mae O\’Hagan insist on making us all poorer?

This is the important question suggested by this piece in the Guardian. By this rather confused young lady.

Now, Ellie worked as a hospital cleaner you see.

She now works as a temp in London.

Fine by me, I see nothing wrong with that. But Ellie herself ought to. For as she says:

Hospital cleaning is one of the most important jobs in the workforce – to the extent that the NEF estimates that cleaners generate £10 in social value for every £1 they are paid. Yet it is not cleaners who are offered handsome bonuses and enviable job security, but City bankers who, by the same token, destroy £7 of social value for every £1 of their income. A society with such topsy-turvy values might seem perverse but it is a natural consequence of capitalism: in a system where money talks, low earners are not only left penniless but voiceless.

Hospital cleaning is one of the most important jobs. The one which adds most to social value. And, from what is being said there, it\’s obvious that social value is what is important to Ellie.

So, she has left a job which produces the most social value possible to take one which produces lower social value.

Ellie has just made us all poorer when measured by that oh so important social value.

Which leads to: either Ellie herself is quite happy to destroy social value in order to better herself, in which case she is just like the bankers, or not even Ellie believes the nef\’s arguments about social value.

For if you did believe the nef then you most certainly wouldn\’t, for purely personal and private reasons, reduce the social value being created by your labours, would you?

Delightfully, this also applies to Andrew Simms, one who I think really would be adding to social value by cleaning hospitals rather than writing reports.

7 thoughts on “Why does Ellie Mae O\’Hagan insist on making us all poorer?”

  1. I am too lazy to read the report, I’m afraid. Does anyone have a one paragraph explanation of how one measures “social value”?

  2. Ian B, I would suspect it’s something like

    “arbitrary value imposed by the NEF authors based on good intentions”

  3. A society with such topsy-turvy values might seem perverse but it is a natural consequence of capitalism…

    That cleaners are not paid millions? What other, non-capitalist society does?

  4. “City bankers who… destroy £7 of social value for every £1 of their income”

    What? Says who?

    Oh yes, the “Making Shit Up” method again.

  5. Hugo, I would assume that they didn’t consider the employees to be among the “key stakeholders” to involve in that study (see e.g. p. 16-17 in the link above) to reach that conclusion…

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