A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.

Monday, December 30, 2013

On poverty, work ethic and bootstraps

A comment on reddit prompted me to write the following. I think it stands well enough without context, but I can provide it if you're really interested.

I think there are a lot of better alternatives to "start your own business and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps." One of them is to recognize that no one operates in a vacuum, and providing support for our least fortunate ought to be our top priority rather than indulging in some fantasy about "tough love."

Another would be abandoning our fetish for Puritan work ethics in a society where scarcity is a matter of public policy rather than necessity. If we started supporting people for following their passions even when those passions aren't lucrative, we might see some surprising results. One of the reasons it's easier to start your own business in most European countries than it is in the US is because the consequences for failure aren't as dire. They don't have to worry about losing their homes or going hungry because they tried and failed.

No comments: