On the concept of entitlement

entitlementWhen it is said that we are living in the age of entitlement, I find myself thinking about the nature of entitlement, reciprocity, and altruism and how they exist as mechanics in the human mind, and as a governance system of human interactions. To some, our age is the age of entitlement because young people expect to be handed a job after finishing college, or expect to be given a college education for free. Perhaps this is the manifestation of wanting to be given something for nothing, which is arguably the manifestation of sloth. To some the age of entitlement is symbolized by a baby boomer generation who not only consumed the resources of their time, but also consumed the resources of their children and grandchildren. Their lifetime being what I suppose could be argued as a national or multi-continental exemplification of gluttony. Continue reading

On the concept of balance

balanceI was reading an article earlier where the core theme was balance between duties and choices. For instance, a labor union can strike, however then they are not being paid, an a factory owner can refuse to give into the demands of the union but then he is not making any money. In this case, you have a carrot for both parties in that if they come to an agreement they can both get paid, and a stick in the form of that they are both losing money by not coming to an agreement. These types of checks and balances are what keeps every structure in working condition because they promote stability and moderation over instability and excess. Democratic countries are often built with “majority” clauses, and/or multiple branches of government, which does slow things down, but also ensures that there is wide support and that it does not devolve into majority tyranny. Take the draft in the United States of America, every man has to register for selective service within 6 months of turning 18, in exchange they get the right to vote. This means that every man who votes for hawkish and interventionist foreign policy knows that this means that he risks being sent off to war if there is a draft. This has the effect of somewhat limiting the willingness to go to war, and encourages voting for a policy that relies on both diplomacy and force, not pure force. In the same way, if I forgot to lock my door, the insurance company can refuse to pay if I get robbed, because through my actions I placed an unnecessary and excessive risk on them. Continue reading