A few weeks ago, one of the ‘Lessons’ in Church was the parable of the Farmer who employed some day labourers. Some started at the beginning of the day, but one was only asked to work towards the end of the day. When the farmer paid them, he gave them all the same pay. Those who had worked all day complained that it was not fair. He explained that they had received what they had agreed upon and, if he chose to pay one at a different rate, that was not their concern.
We have the same sort of problem nowadays – we sometimes get more concerned about what everyone else is getting, rather than what we ourselves are earning. It’s a bit difficult to fault this, when you look at the sometimes almost obscene amounts paid to bankers, who seem to be responsible for the economic woes of the West at present. Actually not true, of course! They may have lent money they should not have, and they borrowed to cover the lending and when the borrowers failed to pay, the banks got caught out and, in their turn, could not pay their debts.
BUT, the real offenders were the private people who borrowed more than their assets could secure and on terms which their incomes were inadequate to service. Many were the victims of mis-selling, but most of them knew full well what they were doing and just gambled that everything would turn out right in the end as it always had in the past.
There is a very insidious example of this jealousy of others, who are getting more than we think is fair, at large in the country at present. Large numbers of public service workers are planning strikes because they think their pension rights are being unfairly trampled on. Many privately employed workers feel the same, but they cannot strike so easily. But what is the reality. Until 1908, the only pensions available were those given to high ranking military and naval officers and by Banks and other such institutions to their senior staff, who had often worked low hours and retired early! But in 1908 a basic pension of