Omelas's citizens have all the blessings we could imagine and they are cultured and wise but the price of having these good fortunes is one child's misery. A "scapegoat" to take on the "sins" of the city. Similar to the Biblical idea of the Savior taking on the sins of the world.
Though at first appalled at the barbarity of such a bargain, we may begin to realize that in our civilization, though not in such an extreme way, the majority benefits from those who sacrifice to make their lives better.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Photo by Eileen Gunn)
Policemen and policewomen put their lives on the line so we may live in a safer society and though we pay taxes for their services and they choose their profession, we are nevertheless benefiting from their "sacrifices."
Adults and children from Bangladesh may choose to work in garment factories but they didn't choose the poverty they were born into. And we as a society benefit from the relatively cheap clothing.
We may avoid buying clothes from Bangladesh but if we are to live in a society we cannot avoid benefiting from others' services. Ursula K. Le Guin's tale reminds us that our blessings come at a cost but also cautions us not to move toward Omelas, that "utopian dystopia." As in Omelas, some will choose to walk away from our society. But if they try to form another utopia, they will face similar dilemmas. That is not to say that we shouldn't look for solutions, but that those who walk away will bring the problem to their paradise.