There are many people out protesting against spending cuts in education. This state, California, as well as the country as a whole, is massively in debt. However, all that I hear are frantic cries for “no more spending cuts” and “no more new taxes”. Now, just how is that supposed to work?
On top of this, when California had a massive budgetary surplus, the people spent it left and right, saving none for an economic downturn. Should I laugh or cry? My kids, as toddlers, had a better sense of economy than many adults these days. I assume this is due to the practices affluent culture like ours model. It was different in the old pre-capitalist days of widespread poverty, if not famine. Back then, people were motivated to save surpluses.
This is another example of our animal nature. We are irrational and emotional just like every other creature on earth. We want to have it both ways. Chapter 70 speaks to our irrational predicament:
My words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice.
I think most people do understand that one must pay for what one gets. It is common sense, right? Yet, the urge to get something for nothing is irresistible (1). Credit imparts a sense of free because you get your desires met immediately and can put payment off to some distant future. Free is one of the most emotionally enticing words we use, and the most illusory! Capitalism, being based on growth rather than conservation, must nurture this approach. Indeed, capitalism’s paradigm of perpetual growth, like free will, is an illusion, i.e., natural processes obey the laws of balance… growth followed by decay and free followed by payment.
(1) The overpowering desire to get something for nothing cause us to conjure up schemes that make us feel we can. A good example of this is the idea of taxing the rich greedy corporations. That either forces a corporation to (1) relocate abroad and lay off workers, (2) pass tax increases onto us customers through higher prices, or (3) make its business less competitive in the global market place and eventually lay off workers. Getting things the easy way is a healthy instinct in the wild. This instinctive approach to make life as easy as possible naturally continues within civilization. However, this drive to get things the easy way, absent natural restraints encountered in the wild, is unbalanced, and this makes life more difficult in many ways. In the end, balance is essential. There are no free rides in nature despite our shortsighted attempts to the contrary. Chapter 53 enlightens, Were I possessed of the least knowledge, I would, when walking on the great way, fear only paths that lead astray. The great way is easy, yet people prefer by-paths.