05 September 2007

Overemployment everywhere

One of the promises of the socialist order that Soviet Union echoed to the world that every citizen between 16 and 59 was guaranteed a job and a pay according to his skills and experience. (I have recently written about anothet fundamental promise, housing, in detail). Accordingly every citizen indeed had a job that consisted a wide range of space rocketry to collective farming but a payroll that didn't represent that range in purchasing power.

Another interesting (but boring for most of you) fact is that Labor Unions existed in nearly every aspect of labor but its members didn't have a right to go on strike and bargain for pay and working conditions. The "All-Sovet Labor Unions Guidebook for 1982" that I have purchased from a flea-market last year shows a million happy faces of soviet workers and their call for their working brethren in capitalist countries to free from the evil chains of exploitation.

But the truth about employment was different from the colourful pages of that guidebook that displays bright Estonian engineers with T-rulers on Baltic dockyards and cheerful Turkmen collective farm workergirls...It was all about overemployment, which means a lot of useless positions for useful people or useless people for key positions. The monstrous underproductivity (that is created by the lack of internal competition and massive state subsidies) backed with this overemployment is said to be one of the reasons of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Although it is almost 15 years after the collapse, it is still seen on Russian streets, government offices and hotels. For example, there are still babushkas (old women) on each hotel floors, (whose duty is simply to occupy the desk near the elevator and reign over the private lives of the guests), despite the existence of state of the art security systems, there are still old secutity ladies and men sitting in the four corners of each museum hall and there are 4 workers for each work that can be efficiently done by one. I have witnessed another overemployment case in CSKA Pool where an old men occupies a strategic position in the men's locker and has a sole duty of not letting people wear street shoes in the locker area.

Another way of overemployment is...oh i can be arrested for that

Maybe not an overemployment but probably one of the worst...the Bio-Toilet babushka

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