I was talking with a group of colleagues about money. Although the discussion was fairly specific I (of course!) managed to generalize and pontificate on said subject 🙂
Aside for pet hates of mine (reliance on banks exclusively, for example) we were touching on subjects like values, attitudes, ideals and frustrations linked to financial matters. So, being in an environment where things will be taken at face value rather than judged and found lacking, I expressed a dream of mine about the uncomfortable issue of social welfare. While I am repulsed by the idea of people as economic units and I regard a good life as a right, welfare dependency is something I struggle with. I cannot see an easy way out in real life though, so this dream of mine is so called because it has nothing to do with life in a “civilized” society.
It seems to me that welfare dependency stems from a separation between the person and the society it belongs to. If you have to go to a government department to beg for your daily bread and prove to said department that you are worthy of living… well, I know I would rebel (privileged, much?). Because proving myself worthy is a personal thing, it is private, to be shown off only if I choose to do so, not as a matter of public (open plan work space) record. And proving the worthiness of one’s life seems insulting, notwithstanding “why should I pay for you to be lazy?”.
Add to this that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you are raised in an environment that has no work ethic, it takes time, patience and investment later for you to learn this. Who will teach you though? And how will you keep learning if this has never been of value to you?
So if at a family level you’re missing something and the societal level is way too alienating, then the answer seems to be somewhere in the middle.
The short of it is that I believe in the small community as the basis of society, with all of its wonderful qualities and outstandingly flexible drawbacks. As expressed in another post, community is a limited number of people living and working in the same place/area/environment. It usually includes entire families as opposed to individuals. The community feels (and I believe should be) responsible for its people. Of course, responsibility has to be matched with an equal amount of power.
So if a youngster is born in a nuclear family without much work ethic he/she may live in a community where his auntie and his cousin and his friends work hard for what they have. When this young one is of an age to work or create (and no, I don’t mean 18!) the community is responsible for offering him those opportunities and mentorship… and the payment for it, too! The community is also entitled to withhold payment while still providing a roof over the head and simple food on the table if the youngster would rather do something else than work or create – for the benefit of the community.
It is one thing for a case manager at social welfare to say “your benefit will be cut because you haven’t attended enough work seminars”. It is a completely different thing for your nephew to say “sorry, mate, no money for you until that garden is spic and span”. Same result, if you will…
Now how are we going to clarify creativity?