Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Open Letter To Young Workers In America On Ageism | Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility Discussion Group

Dear Young Workers In America,

I feel it necessary to speak to you today, in order to plead the case against ageism, that is to say, prejudice based on one's age. Many economists believe it is a fallacy that having older employees in the workforce causes younger workers to have less jobs, because they do not believe that an economy has a fixed number of jobs. By this economical theory, the more people working in the economy, the more jobs that will be created. This is called the "Lump of Labor Fallacy" and whether you believe that or not, please allow me to appeal to you on a level of self interest using the theory of ethical egoism.

According to ethical egoism, one should do what is in one's self interest. What can be more beneficial to oneself than having older, more experienced co-workers to learn from and draw experience from? I would argue that these older sages are a boon to one's employment experience and future job marketability. These older workers can become role models and mentors, providing first hand knowledge and experience that a younger worker might have had to spend years in the workforce to obtain.

Lastly, and I feel most importantly, we will all grow old. It is a fact of life. As Todd Nelson said in "Ageism : Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Older Persons":

"One of the unique features of ageism is that age, unlike race and sex, represents a category in which most people from the in-group (the young) will eventually (if they are fortunate) become a member of the out-group (older persons). Thus, it seems strange that young people would be prejudiced toward a group to which they will eventually belong." (Nelson, 2004)

In closing, the prejudice allowed to be inflicted upon older generations will one day be targeted at you. It is in your self interest to eliminate ageism once and for all. Become its greatest opposition. The job you save may be your own!


Mack Worley III



Nelson, Todd, ed. Ageism : Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Older Persons. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2004. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 13 November 2014.

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