Friday, February 27, 2009

Pointing outward.

Much of our political thought involves imagining undeserving people who are getting benefits at our expense. It works in two directions. Whether you imagine shiftless unemployed people who nevertheless manage to go to doctors and send their kids to school, or fat-cat bank executives flying down to the VI for 'retreats' on their yachts on the government dime, the process of imagining itself drives our emotional reaction and eventually our voting behavior.
I only say this because, while its easy to demonize "bank shareholders" as deserving what they get, the truth is that many 'shareholders' are in fact Mutual Funds that are holding the retirement savings of millions of ordinary Americans.
Much of what we face now will be a matter of allocating discomfort so that we feel we're rising and falling together, but the process of pointing outward to decide who should be hurting hasn't helped us so far and won't help us in the long run.

1 comment:

Charles J Gervasi said...

The best extent possible, I’d like to avoid worrying about other people who somehow get something at my expense. I wish the government would avoid picking the blame and just let things work out. Sometimes we all make bad investments. That’s life. I wish they’d mostly stay out of it as much as possible.