values

the needy versus the greedy

xkcd understands…

i wrote this as a comment in response to someone (yes, someone who happened to be wrong on the internet) arguing that they didn’t see why their hard-earned taxes should become someone else’s “stay at home allowance” – a common gripe by those who are fully drunk on the ‘dole bludger’ propaganda koolaid. the thread was discussing Jobseeker benefit cuts in AU right now, but this fits any argument about social welfare safety nets vs the dole bludger mindset.

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there are two predominant social ideologies at war with each other. one says that humanity is an ecosystem where we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, each other, and the planet’s natural resources in order for us all to thrive. the other says it’s a dog eat dog world and every man should act for himself alone and pocket the rewards he earns (no matter how they were earned), with no care for others.

the former believes in sharing, because there is plenty to go around in a well oiled system based on compassion. the latter believes in hoarding, because ‘what’s mine is mine’, no matter how that was gained. both have the same access to shared infrastructures (roads, education, health/fire/police services, etc) and legal protections (via govt policy & law), and the latter also has the resources to pay for additional private protections on top (including swanky lawyers and accountants to ensure they slip through every legal loophole and safely circumnavigate all the illegal ones to protect their hoards).

based on these historic ideological imbalances both trying to coexist within the same system, we have ended up with ‘the needy’ (those who have persistently struggled to exist over generations because there wasn’t enough legitimate sharing by all members of society for the system to work), and we have ‘the greedy’ (those who have persistently taken more than is theirs and refused to contribute toward the greater good).

from what i can tell from your posts you don’t consider yourself to be ‘the greedy’, but you also don’t seem to much like the idea of being part of an ecosystem which protects ‘the needy’, either. you’ve worked hard and made sacrifices in order to get where you are, so you don’t see yourself as privileged. but you do believe that ‘the needy’ somehow brought it on themselves to end up that way.

it very much benefits ‘the greedy’ for you to blame ‘the needy’ for their own struggles being their own fault. it’s what enables the status quo (imbalance) to be maintained.

what i am (and i believe others here are) saying is not “let’s just keep giving ‘the needy’ everything they want forever so they have an easy life which you pay for”. but “let’s reflect on this entire shitshow of imbalance and give some really considered thought to what we consider human/planetary life to actually be worth in the 21st century”.

we aren’t looking at this current wave of Jobseeker debates as a sticking plaster ‘solution’, we want holistic change at an ideological level – fixing the root cause of the socially unjust problem. we want to redesign the entire system so that it is fair and just for everyone – not to take away from the economic status you have fought so hard to gain for your own life, but to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities and rights as you have managed to gain. it’s not about taking you down, it’s about bringing everyone up.

in order to make that happen, those who have been taking more than is their fare share (not paying taxes, inheriting vast amounts of money/property and/or earning huge profits by exploiting staff/natural resources, etc) need to have those privileges removed (or at very least, better managed). if that happened, there would be plenty to go around. even recouping unpaid taxes/closing unjust legal loopholes, ensuring better worker protections, and an affordable and fit-for-purpose property market would redress much of these imbalances. it really doesn’t take a lot of ‘give’ for everyone to thrive.

you might not believe in the sharing economy, you might not care about others, in which case you are aligning yourself with ‘the greedy’ – perhaps because you like the idea that you could one day join them. only you know where your values lie and what kind of world you want your kids to grow up in.

i just very much hope that if the worst ever happens for you (unemployment/ill health/bereavement, bushfire/flood, etc) that you have a hefty savings account or rich family who can help you survive those times. because ‘the greedy’, by definition, won’t come to save you. ironically, only ‘the needy’ will.

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