Blogs are pretty self-indulgent, aren’t they? As self-indulgences go, this one takes the biscuit…

Throughout my childhood, my very socialist and intellectual father had told me that bin-men (sic) saved more lives per year than doctors. Aged 15, I devoured Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series (books, radio plays, television series and all), in which Adams joked that the phone-sanitisers and the joggers (guffaw!) would be shipped off Golgafrincham for being useless. In 2001, as an undergraduate student of Archaeology, with a keen interest in the emergence of complex society, I finally pieced it all together.

I realised that our society had become so complex, that even people with seemingly pointless jobs or no job at all were all part of it. Most importantly, I realised that it wasn’t just about jobs.

In a complex society, everyone plays their part. Without the artists, who generates our conversations? Without the medics, who cures our ills? Without the refuse collectors, who saves us from being overrun by bacteria and vermin?

For a more nuanced and intellectual reflection, see this excellent lecture by Professor Howard Stevenson.