The banality of virtue

I contend that we bureaucrats are little Jesuses. By doing our jobs and living our ordinary lives we are already helping others in beneficial way.

Janitors keep our facilities clean. Cashiers keep the grocery line moving, and we actuaries maintain the solvency of the insurance industry.

By buying the things we want in life - consumer goods and services, we help the people who make and provide them.

Therefore it is unnecessary for one to do unpaid volunteering or work for a nonprofit or donate to charity to live a virtuous life.

Ordinary living is plenty enough. It’s okay to just enjoy it.

It’s Jesi

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Working, even if it’s good work, is for money to live. If it’s satisfying and useful, well, that’s nice.
Volunteering is where you provide your little brick in the wall that helps the community.
Litmus test: if you had no need for money, would you still do the work? Nope. If you had no need for money, would you still volunteer? Probably.

Yo dude. I made you them utils by crafting this here thread. Respect.

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That’s what I’m saying though. There’s virtue in just doing it for the paycheck.

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Do we?

Some of us. And a bunch of us add no real value.


I remember that thread

If you didn’t add value then the company wouldn’t have hired you

:rofl: I forgot how you think about things

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That aside, I can add value for the company finding regulatory loopholes to help rich people pay less tax, but society is no better off for that work.

Negative value is still value. Gotta think in math.

And I add plenty of value in that sense.

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The standalone statement by CS is true. But it does not follow from his logic. I would prefer “…it is unnecessary for some…”. One can provide extra value to the community by being empathetic and positive in one’s daily interactions. Further, explicit volunteerism and charity can simply be checkmarks of empty virtue. On the other hand, worker ants simply doing their job are not virtuous.

Shouldn’t the title be the virtue of banality?

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Some types of community service work provides more value than their own revenue supports. If you can volunteer for them I think you add more than just spending “well” (avoiding causing negative externalities ignored by price) and behaving lawfully.

I concede your point.

If we’re considering only economics …

The first step in living a virtuous life is to provide for myself – in the modern world, to produce as much as I consume.

The second step is to help those who are unable to provide for themselves.

Assuming you didn’t steal or receive a handout then these must tie by definition, no?

The original wasn’t in that order.

Yes, and that was kind of the point. Economic virtue includes Don’t steal, don’t take handouts, if you have the ability to support yourself. After that, help others who can’t if you can.

From my first performance review:

I feel like I’m not actually adding value to the company.

Oh SV, look around, none of us add value to the company.

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