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Jaume Llenas
 

Those who are in and those who are out

What should fill us with hope is that the present order of things won’t always remain the same: everything will be turned upside down and in the end it is not the powerful that will triumph.

FEATURES AUTHOR Jaume Llenas TRANSLATOR Olivier Py 25 FEBRUARY 2019 13:46 h GMT+1
Kat Jayne, Pexels (CC0)

Each society includes those who are in and those who are out. Each group of persons and individuals have their own characteristics, beliefs, ethnical belonging, behaviours, that stamp them as winners or losers.



Being a Jew in Nazi Germany marked a person as one of those who were out, even physically, through the external sign of a yellow star of David that they were obliged to have visibly sewed on their garments.



Being Tutsi in Rwanda or in Burundi in the 90’s obliged them to have identity papers mentioning their belonging to this ethnic group, something that marked you as someone who is out, even in your own country.



Some persons consider the fact to be out as the very defining quality of their own identity. For the Amish community to be distinct from the rest, to be out and not to mix with other citizens from their territory is taken as a sign of identity. They stand out, but prefer to remain different.



In some Central American countries to cover one’s body extensively with tattoos is a sign of belonging, of being part of a special group which gives a sense of belonging and makes you different from the rest.



Similarly, our society has those who are in and those who are out.



 



INSIDERS AND OUTSIDERS IN THE WORLD OF WORK



Around 20 years ago, two economists, Lindbeck and Snower worked out a theory about insiders and outsiders to explain the difference between permanent and temporary workers, those who have quite a steady job and those who over the years never manage to get a steady one and are periodically unemployed.



The permanent workers are protected from arbitrary managerial decisions due to the heavy cost of a dismissal, and these are the ones who usually get the best working conditions in their companies.



This heavy substitution cost of the insider, the permanent worker, is the very impediment for the unemployed (outsider) to get a steady job. What is a guarantee for the insider is an obstacle for the outsider.



It is logical that the insider defends his rights to the bitter end, but the high cost of a dismissal makes difficult both the dismissal of the insider and the hiring of the outsider.



The unemployed are for longer periods of time out of a job when the dismissal costs are higher. There is a conflict of interests between the steady workers and those who are frequently unemployed, what is just and well for the first class is bad and unfair for the second class.



The steady workers are not to blame, the fault lies with the very injustice of the system. A better distribution of jobs could only be achieved with a higher possibility for the entire society to lose one’s job.



Making every worker vulnerable, making them all outsiders, would be a way for those who are unemployed to have a better share in the working market.



The working system is based on injustice. Some persons will never be able to organize their lives, will never make long term plans: they are ousted from our society.



 



A SYSTEM BUILT ON INJUSTICE: CHILDREN



A second display of this inequality is present when we consider the fact that injustice begins from birth. A report from Save the Children shows that 25% of the children in Spain are at risk from exclusion.



Nearly three million children are in serious danger of being excluded from the system. This is the cost of a crisis which in the lowest class of the society is now endemic.



Furthermore, the debt of banks and private companies is resolved not by government funding but by a third of the population which doesn’t see any positive change and remains in a very precarious situation, something which particularly affects our children.



I am very much concerned about the world of infants because it is full of inequalities. This is indeed a very cruel place and a consequence of inherent vulnerabilities as well as external factors.



Among the latter let me name the risk of being marginalized by closed groups and cliques. There is a huge difference between a group of friends and a clique. In a group of friends there are a number of shared common interests that unite it, such as tastes, common interests, sports, etc. In a group of friends, each one is free to relate with whom they want, they are open groups.



On the other hand, cliques are closed groups in which nobody can enter, and those who are in are not free to relate with those who are out of the group.



They can only relate with those who are already in, not with those who are out. Leadership of the groups is a very coercive: punishments are inflicted on those who don’t obey the rules of the group. Likewise, it is also difficult to express an opinion which contradicts the general consensus of opinion of a group.



How difficult it is to identify with outsiders, with the displaced, with those who are out. With immigrants, with refugees, with the poor, with those who lack social prestige, with the children who are out of the group!



We don’t like to side with the weak, but by nature we adhere to those who have prestige, fame and social power. It is human nature to climb on the winner’s bandwagon and to organize walks treading on a floor made of those who are excluded, of those who are out.



 



THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS



I am moved by the example of Jesus, who decided to side with the rejected from birth, God in the form of a man, who was always in the company of those who had no social prestige such as the tax collectors working for the Romans, the lepers, the prostitutes, etc. Even in His death He was crucified between two thieves.



What should fill us with hope is that the present order of things won’t always remain the same: everything will be turned upside down and in the end it is not the powerful that will triumph.



A final day of justice is coming in which He will wipe every tear from those who are hurting. Jesus came to change the present order of things in the world in which injustice was and still is triumphing.



There will be a new heaven and a new earth and justice will reign in their midst. In this celestial Jerusalem, those who now don’t fit, those who are out, will fit in, because the One who had all the rights, relinquished them in order to open the door of hope.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.