I liked the tone of your article, we in the West can get away with laziness for the non-productive can live via taxes or handouts at the expense of the productive. The Zeitgeist of our age is that we seem to think we have a right to everything, responsibility for nothing and that our own happiness is sacred and someone else, probably called society and the government, have an obligation to ensure we are serviced.

Contrast that with my wife who was a single mother for 20 years from Japan. She worked 4 jobs to bring up 3 daughters and also home educated them because she did not like what was taught in the public schools. In Japan, before you can get unemployment benefit or help from the government, you have to liquidate all your assets including TV and computers then you can legitimately claim. The expectation is that you take responsibility for yourself and that you are not dependent on anyone else, “liking” the work is not even a consideration, it is a requirement of a citizen to be responsible for themselves.

Up until the 1950s in the UK, the situation was very similar — even the founder of our welfare state said that the State benefits were to be a safety net to give people just enough to stop them starving between jobs if something unexpected happened. If you did not like what you did or felt “trapped” in poverty, you self-educated and changed your world.

Now, in the UK and it sounds like over there too, people blame the “rich” or “bg business” (because i am politically interested i get 10 or so emails a day expressing that sentiment) and want to tax them more. Unfortunately the really “rich” have exotic tax arrangements and charitable foundations that ensure their tax liability is minimal, as do most of the large multinationals like amazon that we love so much. The “rich” that ended up targetted are actually the middle classes, the artisans, the business people who generate their wealth by working really hard. Just imagine the joy of the government helping itself to 90% of your income above a certain level of earnings…why would you work? This is why the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and the rest of our finest exports all are “tax exiles” as far as the UK tax authorities are concerned, they went to live somewhere else after refusing to pay the taxman (remember that sweet Beatles song ‘Taxman’ — in those days the tax rate was 95% of earnings above a certain level ‘if 5% appears too small, be thankful i don’t take it all’ sang Mr Lennon as he moved across to you over there, tax exile status confirmed).

This was followed by the socialist period in the UK during the 1970s when it was all about “taxing the rich” (sounds like the Democratic Party candidates to me), these productive “rich” left the country in droves, it was called the “brain drain” and the UK ended up going cap-in-hand to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout (you know where poor “third world” countries go for a handout). It was only when we got our fiery, first female primeminister who went to war against corruption, waste and inefficiency in local government (known as Labour Union closed shops) and made a way for businesses to be profitable again, that the UK turned a corner. Joining the EU was a major step backwards but hopefully we can put that mistake behind us and leave the cartel and rediscover the world.

Only when people do not see the value of work as a means for individual freedom, do they get cynical about it — as the Equaliser says in the movie “change your world” if you do not like it and what is more, do not expect someone else to. I love the story of Colonel who took the equivalent of his unemployment cheque, cooked a few bits of chicken, people liked it, so he did it again and the rest is history.

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I write engineering software for a technical website and am studying part-time for a PhD in Philosophy, https://planetmacneil.org/blog/.

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