Thursday, 24 May 2012

I'm one in a (1.7) million!

For some time I have said that I work for the world's third largest employer-the NHS. However listening to BBC Radio 4's More or Less last week I now have to accept that i work for the world's fifth largest employer.

And here, pop pickers, is the top 10


What does this tell us about society?

Well the top 2 are basically about protection. Or rather protecting ourselves from each other. So curious for those who interpret society from an evolutionary perspective, and would suggest that we have made enormous progress from our ancestors who basically put all their energy into killing for food and staving off dangerous animals. It would seem that far and away the most dangerous animal is ...you and me.

And then there's the Walmart. Giant organisation providing all many of goods at reasonable prices. I'm glad they provide employment for so many, but I do worry about the effect the giant supermarkets have on our local shops. If we all shopped more regularly at our local shops it would potentially increase our social relationships. It would lessen the anonymity of the 'big shop' when you never meet anyone you know and are served by a different person each time.  It would increase our chance of 'loving our neighbour' (well described in Mark Greene's excellent little book, The Best idea in the world).

And Madonald's. Oh dear. I struggle with the company. Ok cheap food and very large numbers of employees, but there's a heavy price to pay in obesity and high cholesterol levels.

So the good old NHS comes in at number 5. I'm proud to have worked in it for 34 years after 5 years of training. Employing 1.7 million people is never going to be easy and I fear for the ongoing tinkering with it of recent successive governments. But 1.7 million people whose raison d'├¬tre is to bring relief and well-being seems pretty inspirational to me. It says something for our national Christian heritage that the NHS exists and that not only do we  recognise that human beings are subject to sickness and sadness (ultimately as a result of turning away from God), but that part of responding to the good news of the Christian gospel is to try to facilitate the  gradual restoring and healing of all things (albeit partially), which are signs and glimpses of the ultimate renewal of all things at Christ's return.
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