Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do We Care If The Poor Don't Work?

Via Daily Timewaster


Well, we should. Some of us don't. But we should.
But it’s also possible to argue that as a rich, post-scarcity society, we shouldn’t really care that much about whether the poor choose to work. The important thing is just making sure they have a decent standard of living, full stop, and if they choose Keynesian leisure over a low-paying job, that’s their business.
No, actually. No. It is not possible to argue this in front of anyone with a functioning brain, for more than three seconds.

Here's why: first of all, even conceding the very strange new notion that we are so wealthy we can let much of the population loaf, there is a thing on this planet we call adversity. Bad things happen.

Industrial accidents, floods, economic devastation, massive crop failures, earthquakes, terrorist attacks. And so on.

Stores of excess wealth and widespread economic independence are good and necessary attributes to possess, when adversity strikes.

Douthat's assumption is that this is a time of plenty and things will carry on this way forever. This assumption has had a 100% guaranteed failure rate over the entire course of human history and will fail quite reliably in the future, probably very much sooner than we would like.


  1. Look at the source, Douthat is an idiot.

    He's been hanging around that shit for brains David Brooks too long.

    1. He's been hanging around that shit for brains David Brooks too long.