[ExI] Psychology of "Entitlements"

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri May 15 07:13:49 UTC 2009

2009/5/13 Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com>:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> It doesn't make sense that you say you would have taken the dole, yet
>> ended up retraining and (I assume) working full time. What if there
>> were no dole but you had, say, a couple of hundred thousand dollars
>> from savings or inheritance, which you could have invested for a
>> modest lifelong income, similar to the dole;
> Of course I would have preferred that. People
> usually take the path of least resistance,
> integrated over their foreseeable future
> (taking into account time discounting).
> I didn't *want* to stop doing what I was doing.
> I felt forced to. I felt forced to move far
> away and take up another line of work entirely.
> Charities and especially government assistance
> all too often keep people from making choices
> that will in the long run benefit them.

I'm still not sure I understand: are you saying that if you had modest
savings you would not have found another job? Where I live it takes
about 5 to 7 years savings for someone on the average wage in order to
sustain themselves at the level of the dole for the rest of their
life. So most people could retire before they're 30, if they would be
satisfied with the dole. Is this a problem? Should we advise children
against thrift, on the grounds that it promotes laziness and will lead
to the country's ruin?

> People end up feeling quite different about money they've
> earned as opposed to money they've stolen or have been
> given. The psychological profiles are distinct. In one
> case there is a kind of sense of justice, and in the
> other a sense of injustice, just to mention one facet.

Some people feel guilty about being on welfare payments, but then they
should also feel guilty about receiving insurance payments in excess
of the premiums they have paid, even when they have legitimately
fulfilled the criteria for the payout.

> The people I know or knew who were getting something for
> nothing rather resented the entire system, and especially
> hated the rich (and for some reason, especially hated
> Bill Gates). The mechanisms in play here are obvious.

The people I know who hate the rich are those who work for a living.
Those on welfare payments see the rich as justification that getting
money in excess of the value of the work that you do is OK.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list