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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

are you a homework machine?

I found this comment, posted yesterday here on an old thread about DormAid, extremely lucid and revealing:
I run DormAid in Canada; I've been looking on your website for the past hour and I think you guys are missing the point. The '‘point'’ is that DormAid is out to improve the quality of life for our customers. We see with 'benefits of trade'’ specialization increases the amount of goods people can consume. Students should specialize in doing school work, and cleaning people should specialize in cleaning and Laundromats should specialize in doing laundry. When I get hungry I don't grab my gun and go hunting for animals. I walk down to the local grocery store and buy the food from the store. In turn the store buys it from the farmer. With specialization people can do more things. No one person is completely self sufficient. That is why business focus on providing specific services.
So the question is: are you a homework machine? The framework this writer uses struck me because it reveals how amoral (not immoral, a-moral) this framework of maximizing efficiency and productivity is. Are we all simply producers and consumers, free of context or broader social responsibility. Are we really just here to specialize in school work? While I take the point to some extent, aren't we in seriously dangerous waters culturally if we aren't thinking about anything else?


At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are you, jus waking up to the realities of capitalism? this is how things work, and if you don't like it, go to Sweden. Why is it DormAid's job to be "moral." It's a BUSINESS!

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous rob said...

it's a business. but if i was a parent, i wouldn't pay for this service for my kid. there's something to be said about doing one's chores, the tedious, menial, hard labor, whatever you call it. you learn humility, discipline, and appreciation of labor by this experience.

hah, it also motivates a harvard student to possibly work harder to ultimately afford a maid or whatever on one's own instead of a parent's money. but at least they'll understand the value of money then.

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are people willing to pay for this service, and people willing to provide it. Nobody is being forced to get on their hands and knees and clean out moldy showers. If wealthier kids are the only people that can afford this service - then so be it. Obviously, the College has determined it to be well within the means of the student body to clean up after its own mess (or else it would have supplied its very own form of DormAid, albeit with janitors paid $18.00 an hour), but if certain students feel that their time/energy is best spent elsewhere (as most of them do), then they may choose to pay for the service.


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