Back when the mighty Stegosaurus roamed the earth I was a skinny, long-haired uni student wondering what to do with my life. I knew that I wanted to make a difference, and I was quite sure that I would, but the problem was that I had no particular skills nor did I stand out in any way. However, I was me – surely I’d land on my feet and end up working for some glamorous department of the UN or in some wonderful NGO or maybe as an ethics advisor to an enormous global corporation, making the world better bit by bit every day that I rode to its campus on my mountain bike.
Now, I understand at this point some of my readers want to pull my ears and punch my nose but you can’t because this is the internet. Fair enough. I will pull and punch them for you because I know how much I deserve it: Ow! Arr! Yowza!
Of course, like the rest of humanity, when adulthood finally arrived to smash the stupidity out of me in the form of needing to earn a crust, I got further, more practical qualifications and got a job. Any job. Just a job. It doesn’t matter what. And life went on.
But others are in a different situation. There are college kids in the US who didn’t get all the government sugar that I received (uni students in Australia were once called ‘Johnnie Howard’s surf team’); they have unpayable debts to go with those useless degrees, and have wasted an even longer time than I did getting them.
If you’re a twenty-five year old kid with a Masters in Bumfuckology and six-digits owing, what, realistically, are you going to do?
You’re going to go all out to get one of those high paying, not-for-profit jobs. Because you’re not going to get anything else that will fill the hole you dug.
But there’s a problem: there are far more bumfuckology majors than there are such bullshit jobs. This is because a non-profit must either beg money or finagle it from the government, while a profit-based industry produces something that people will freely pay for.
It is no longer enough to work your way up through high school socialist groups, university activism and then unpaid summer internships at NOW. Any idiot can do that. You’ve got to have something more.
This leads to the fascinating development of the ‘progressive stack’ we have seen recently where those with more claims to fame (black, female, gay, disabled, Muslim, frock-wearing male, having multiple heads etc.) try to push aside those with fewer such titles to their names in order to grab the top spots. For example, there was a flaming storm in the UK a while ago when a, gasp, white male, got the leadership of a big gay lobby. I believe Steve Sailer wrote an excellent piece on this hyper-competition but now I can’t find it – can anyone help? It was probably on Unz or Taki.
But my main point today is to examine this obsession with non-profit or public sector jobs. Do they really help people more than those evil, profit-seeking businesses?
Don’t get me wrong. We need bureaucrats, always have. There will always be organs of state that issue drivers licenses, regulate the pharmaceutical industry and manage storm water drains. If a worker in this sector does his job well, avoids delaying projects and is honest, then I can see the benefit. He does not actually produce anything, but if he does his job properly, and if his department is suitably lean, then he may smooth the path for others to produce things. Real businesses can now transport their goods on safer roads that don’t flood every time there’s a downpour.
I live in a place where these aspects of the public service are underfunded and the result is not awesome. The roads are a mess, it always floods, and if you want to buy antibiotics you’d best do it when you’re out of country, otherwise you’ll be consuming a mixture of talcum powder and congealed camel snot.
I know, I know, people who work for non-profits tend to be irritating, hypocritical wankers. I already wrote a whole post (coming soon) about how they are incorrigible wenchers. And the religious ones are worse because they don’t even do that.
But let’s look at this calmly. What does the UN do, exactly? In this country, not much of anything. They make noises about the human rights situation and get kicked out. They provided peacekeepers after the last war whose high pay and testosterone soon turned every second girl here into an enthusiastic prostitute, the other half held back only by conservative families who wouldn’t let them.
What about NGOs? Let’s say you give World Vision money and they dig a well. Okay, but why didn’t the villagers just dig their own well, or pay someone to do it? This is a very dark view, but giving money to poor Africans just results in more poor Africans.
And then there are those agencies that claim to fight for gender equality or to monitor human rights or protect the environment. The first I won’t even touch (because they’re run by such unattractive ladies). The second – human rights? You find those in the barrel of a gun. And as for the environment, anyone over thirty who still takes the shrill, self-serving alarmism and publicity stunts of Greenpeace seriously is a fool.
While we’re on Greenpeace, let’s dissect that term ‘non-profit’. What does it really mean? It does not mean ‘good’ or ‘selfless’. Rather, it means they’re not selling anything valuable enough for people to pay good money for. Those clowns at Greenpeace get paid by feel-good inner suburbanite tools to sail around (or shift paper around), and they get to shag stupid, muffin-topped uni girls with nose rings and blue hair by saying they work for this amazing organization, just like any Korean boy with a Samsung business card gets all the horizontal pussy he wants. So a non-profit might not turn a profit as such, but it can be very profitable for those within it, hence their constant, ever so selfless publicity stunts and donation drives.
The tiny percentage of the workforce who are in non-profits get to preen that they’re better than the rest of us sales assistants, opticians and roofers. That is perhaps the most significant aspect of their remuneration.
Here I wish to add that when a really rich guy like Bill Gates dedicates his later years to charity, I’m cool with that. I don’t think it will achieve nearly as much as selling software but a man can do with his money whatever stupid thing he wants. I liked his idea of inventing a condom that actually feels good. But where is it? If massive potential profits for the private sector didn’t lead to its development, perhaps it’s just not feasible, at least not yet. As well as demonstrating a salient economic point, I think this fact also proves that God does not exist.
And then there are trusts and bequests, where a rich guy sets up a fund that will fulfill his goals even after he’s dead, kind of like an avenging ghost. Bad news, rich guys – after you cark it, the typical not-for-profit crowd will take control of it and do what they always do. Rhodes wanted to unite the English-speaking world in a bloc so powerful that it would dominate the planet and make any future war impossible. Today his scholarships go to . . . well, have a look for yourself.
Joe sells bicycles. People buy them because they want them and think the price is worth it. He benefits the world by giving it bicycles. If he sells shit ones then he’s not really helping the world, but he’ll probably go out of business. In private business, incompetence, stupidity and dishonesty are just as common as in the public or not-for-profit sectors but in the first these faults will exact a cost.
Of course, there are dodgy businesses. Look at the banking royal commission – they were lying, forging signatures, withholding vital information etc. etc. ‘For-profit’ does not mean ‘bad’, but nor does it mean ‘good’. It means that the organization is trying to make money. It might do this by providing a good or service at a competitive price, or it might rip off the unwary. It is up to the government to try to prevent the latter, though as they are fighting the invincible power of human stupidity on the part of the victims they can only hope to achieve an expensive, permanent stalemate at best.
So there you have it: non-profits are probably the least useful sector. If you want to ‘help’, kids – first, don’t; second, get a real job and do it well.