RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Tue Jul 24 2001 - 17:54:18 MDT

Mike and Samantha write that $10,000 would tempt very few
people to give up their jobs and retire. (I did stipulate
somewhere that this was not to interfere with any other
benefits that the people are currently receiving.)


"With a GI of $10,000, it's enough to live in a crappy
little studio apartment, no kids, no pets, and no fun."

What? You must be thinking of a single adult in a high or
average price area. Lots of people are already *retired*
on about that from the government (my mother is one). Three
or four friends going together can live modestly, but adequately
on their $30K or $40K.


> Much too pessimisstic. At least until recently you could get
> about the equivalent of that on welfare in the US (though
> admittedly with a lot of hassle). You sure didn't see any large
> number of people in a hurry to quit their jobs and live on such
> an amount. So why believe they would if you simply removed the
> red tape?

(a) the certainty and reliability of it (b) not having to prove
to anyone that you need it (c) the lack of self-consciousness
or guilt that sometimes affects people when they know that if
they only tried a lot harder they could get a job (no reflection
on them---I know that if I tried harder I could get a higher
paying job).

> Do you hate what you do for a living enough to be tempted?

Right now I have a very cushy job (I know what nail to hit
and am very well paid for it). But it's not intellectually
stimulating (at least not compared to my private interests).
Yeah, sometimes I hate it.

> Do you think many people really do? When only 25% of even major
> lottery winners decide to not seek any gainful work why on earth
> would you think a whopping 25% would do it for something on the
> order of $10000/yr?

Eight hundred dollars a month is a lot to many people. Millions
of people, especially younger people, ALREADY live with little
visible means of support. Take it from me, as one of those who
is not madly in love with how they earn their bread, and who at
age 30 didn't have a career---for those people who've never been
employed especially, preparing yourself mentally to change your
habits and punctually show up somewhere to work eight hours a day
is not easy. Staggering numbers of people under 30 would simply
never enter the work force if they could just get $800 a month
for doing nothing.

As for those who already have jobs, I'll defer to what the majority
here apparently intuits: namely that only a small percentage (say
around 10 per cent?) would give up their jobs during the next five


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