On yer bike indeed

EVERYTHING is relative — scale, urgency, need, and safety all mean different things to different people living in different circumstances. If you’re living in Aleppo you might have to make choices that would not even occur to someone living in the relative tranquility of Arklow.

Even if we allow for cultural, social, and population differences, the news that 2.3m people in India applied for a few hundred moderately-paid — around €210 a month — civil service jobs opens a window to a world almost unimaginable by most of us. The positions involve making tea and passing files between government offices. Requirements for the 368 jobs include having finished primary school and being able to ride a bike. Nevertheless, 255 people with doctorates and 150,000 graduates applied.

Economists will say it is a worrying sign that too many people are chasing too little work in Asia’s third-largest economy but others, more empathetic and less concerned with numbers, will see it as a symptom of a society where opportunity is far too limited. No wonder we face a refugee crisis.


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