Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A wise man once said...

This is one of those moments in which I wish I had a wider readership. Someone sent me these words today, and I would love to hear how people react to them in the light of the current economic crisis. Particularly in places (like the UK) which have a welfare state, which is being stretched by the increasing demands on it.

Of course, many of the people currently not working would love to work... if only there were jobs to be had!

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
~~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005


Stephen Downes said...

That paragraph presupposes that the people who are wealthy have worked for that wealth and that the people who are not wealthy have not.

Nothing further from the truth could be the case. Most often, the people who are wealthy have worked less hard, less long, than the people who are not; the mere fact of their wealth makes them more wealthy, and at the same time, robs from the poor what wealth they might obtain from their work.

Nothing robs the impoverished of a motivation to work and to improve themselves more than the knowledge that some person who does nothing to deserve it will accumulate all thew wealth for himself.

Wealth multiplied is worthless if it is not divided.

The upsycho said...

@Downes well reasoned! Perhaps most true in England where there is still a vestige of 'landed gentry' and inherited titular privilege. It is not 'done' for a foreign national to say in the UK, but I have major issue with the whole notion of inherited entitlement. See my (very old) post on the subject, and please read Virginia Yonkers's moving post that shows up in the trackbacks.

I have commented somewhere before about a vary clever woman who addressed a chapter of some or other women in business I attended once. She demonstrated by means of a model, how improving the circumstances of the poorest strata improved the circumstances of society as a whole. I wish I could remember anything about it other than that it made perfect sense. She encouraged even non-church-goers to adopt the principle of tithing to the cause of their choice in the interests of putting this model into practice.

So, yeah, I'm with you, but based on agut instinct rather than the neat reason you can always depended upon to bring to the table.

Duncan said...

There was also a book ('The Spirit Level') recently published on how it's not absolute wealth that causes problems but the disparity between the bottom and top sections of society. So for example, relatively less prosperous nations with a small differential have fewer problems than a more prosperous nation with a higher differential. I haven't read the book yet, but the author was discussing it on Radio 4's Start the Week programme at the beginning of March, and it was reviewed in the Guardian last weekend.

The upsycho said...

@Duncan Thanks for the comment. I'll have to look into the book.

One of the things I have encountered firsthand is the generosity of the have-nots. Churches I have attended have sent work parties into impoverished areas to do building work, or health work among the communities. And, in mud huts with only one bed, the visiting worker would be given the bed while the entire family took to the floor. They would also often slaughter an animal they could ill afford to do without in order to provide a feast for the visitors.

Having gone there to bring about a change for the community, the workers never failed to come away far more profoundly changed themselves.