Taking pride in your flaws is something that would strike us as odd if it were done by a romantic prospect, a friend, a colleague at work or an acquaintance. We all have our flaws, but taking a stand in favour of it? That becomes something else entirely. Wouldn’t it make more sense to be prideful of your strongest assets and attributes? This is something that strikes me when we look at social democracy. The Nordic countries proudly extolls their self-image as generous welfare states. Everything and everyone from the youngest baby to the school age youngster, to the adult to the corporation to the advocacy group. They all are bound to the state through handouts.
I’m not going to make the economic case against the welfare state here. People with a far greater economic mind than myself have already done so brilliantly elsewhere. Instead I’m going to look at the changes that occur to people’s character as a result of living in a welfare society. In theory welfare handouts are means tested, meaning that you’re only eligible to receive pay-outs if you meet certain criteria. This is not consistent with reality. Some years ago, I myself was receiving welfare money from the government. And let me tell you, the reason I got a job and got off the dole wasn’t due to any pressure from the government. I pushed myself due to my knowledge about the long-term benefits from working. In the beginning as a part time employee before I got a full-time position, I actually lost money compared to how much I would have “made” if I had stayed on the welfare rolls. I was actually economically incentivized to refrain from working. This is but the tip of the iceberg of the degenerate nature of a full-blown welfare society.
The welfare society isn’t only based on financial pay-outs to recipients. The sick leave practices are also “roomy”, particularly due to the ability to take paid sick days without a doctor’s note. Any reasonable individual would concede the point that widespread abuse of this system is rampant. Unless you have a straight moral spine, you aren’t going to push yourself as hard as you would have without the ability to bypass a doctor. In the welfare society, benefit cheats, lazy bums that lie on the couch all day instead of finding gainful employment and shirkers can live comfortably off the backs of productive people.
The welfare society is a giant machine for siphoning the productive work of “K” individuals to “r” people. (See r vs K selection theory). People respond to incentives. Any welfare system must necessarily be based on exorbitant taxation to fund the system. Even then the liabilities of pensions, sick leave, paid maternity leave, unemployment benefits and so on are ginormous. It simply isn’t feasible to solve the economic equation. Just look at the United States. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the third rails of American politics, you can’t touch them as a politician or you’ll never get re-elected. The system is impervious to change. The fiscal situation is headed straight for the iceberg while the rudder is padlocked and chained.
Even in oil-rich Norway with the famed Pension Fund worth hundreds of billions of dollars isn’t in a position to cover their obligations. The moral degeneracy of the welfare society is an assault upon the productivity of the tax base. Combined with the influx of non-Western immigration and cognizant of the fact that their employment numbers are lagging, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We are even paying for the women of immigrants to stay home with their children (thus not integrating into society through the employment arena). The incentives are there for creating as many children as possible (tax consumers). Sooner or later reality will come crashing through the door.
It is sad to read newspaper articles about young people on welfare. In all likelihood they are able to work, but who can resist the temptation of “free” money without a work requirement? I’m positively convinced that had the generous sick leave policies and the handouts to the unemployed disappeared overnight, we would be shocked over the amount of people suddenly able to work. Other, especially Molyneux have made the argument that going from a free market solution to a government solution doesn’t yield the negative effects immediately. The doctors trained in the marked continue to work as a system might change from free market to socialized medicine. The doctors growing up in the new system however will have all the dysfunction the incentive structure mandates. The same goes for NASA, in the beginning the employees are all coming from the free market and they have good values founded upon a strong work ethic. We thus saw all the great accomplishments in NASA’s history early on, what impressive feat have they accomplished lately?
This same dysfunction unfortunately is the reality for youngsters growing up in such a society. The amount of missed and untapped human potential makes me weep inside. We could have had so much more if not for power hungry politicians high on degenerate political ideologies.