Saturday, December 6, 2014

Obvious Things Part 3: Entitlement

I don't think anybody -likes- an entitlement mentality, it's just that none of us can agree on exactly what this means.  Loosely speaking, entitlements are just expectations to things we personally don't agree should be expected.  Remember, however, that your position in society is dependent entirely upon your conformance to others' expectations - entitlements, therefore, are most injurious to the upper classes, which is exactly why entitlements are fomented by those who oppose the stratification of society.

Entitlements are fomented as a form of political brinkmanship, by either those who have power and intend to make power to difficult to aspire to, or by those who don't have power and seek to push those in power out.  This is obvious if you think about it for a moment - that's exactly what political promises -are-, the setting of expectations, of entitlements.

The difficulty, however, is that this is a ratchet, a one-way process that keeps going until everything destabilizes, until the promises exceed the ability of those in power to fulfill them.  I can point to several eras in history where exactly this happened - the result is never pretty, although it does generally do a pretty good job of resetting everybody's expectations.

Because there is always a benefit to some party of creating expectations - of creating entitlements - I suspect this process is inevitable, and social stability cyclical.  Of course, as time has gone on, the ability of powerful people to meet promises has increased, producing longer and longer periods of stability - and with technology, it's possible the cycle may be broken already, as ever-increasing productivity ensures the ever-increasing promises of the powerful can perpetually be met.

There's thus an incentive for those seeking power to destroy the advance of technology.  The question, of course, is whether they realize it.  I suspect some have, given the degree of effort taken towards precisely that goal.

Consider that in a Democracy, the public is ultimately in charge.  The Party Leaders are jealous of this.  Consider what this means in the long term.

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