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While You Were Out...   (Harun I., May 24, 2008)

Pareto's observations are a reality but the Principle doesn't address the cause. Whether in capitalism or in a feudalism, socialism, democracy, in large and small corporations or government agencies the Principle remains constant. The causes however are not easily identifiable or understood. Perhaps you have touched on at least one cause.

We all are alloted 24 hours. Time (although an illusion) does not discriminate. The difference in the outcome of our lives may have something to do with how we spend our time. Those that engage the majority of their time in productive activities tend to be more productive, those that spend most of their time in non-productive activities are less productive. Simple enough.

But the challenging thing is, while this disparity of distribution may be easier to understand in some form of autocracy or kleptocracy, why does the Pareto Principle persist in free societies and organizations? It seems this principle transcends artificial societal order and therefore appears to be rooted in human psychology. Is this nature's way of reminding us that there can only be so many in the alpha group?

I don't pretend to know the answer but I do find it interesting. However it raises other controversial questions. For example, in the matter of redistribution of wealth, if the majority of wealth will always flow naturally to 20 percent of any population because of their disposition to be more productive, why should the lower percentile have a claim on the fruits of 20 percenters productivity? I understand that great wealth disparities lead to social unrest and this is how these ideas (redistributions) are justified but doesn't that imply some form of extortion? Give me some of your wealth even though I have chosen not to educate myself or work as hard as you and if you don't I will misbehave. Give them bread and circuses lest they have a tantrum.

Believe me, I know what poverty is. But I always viewed it as a challenge to be overcome buy using my mind. I did it so why not others? And because others won't make that choice they are appeased rather than deal with all the trouble they will cause. And so we perpetuate and reward disowning actions which fans the flame of irresponsibility. I guess it goes something like:

We know that you committed a felony (loan fraud) and essentially stole a life style you couldn't afford (quasi-identity theft) but it's not your fault and we will take care of it. Thanks, replies the beleaguered debtor, but where will you get the money? Savers, comes the reply.

As I have posited before the upside of this is that while relative calm is maintained the money flows back up to the 20% anyway.

Nonetheless the question that arises is, in a capitalistic, democratic republic how can we have no accountability while promoting and rewarding irresponsibility and remain prosperous and free? As this country comes to grips with its insolvency perhaps we will have little choice but to attempt to answer this question individually and collectively.

Entertainment means diversion. For those that spend the majority of your lives (time) diverted from reality, when you come back you are not going to like the "While you were out" note that your government has left you.

Thoreau's quote while pithy does not alone do service to today's entry The Haves and the Have-Nots: of Time (May 23, 2008):

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

"When we consider what, to use the words of the catechism is the chief end of man, and what are the true necessaries and means of life, it appears as if men had deliberately chosen the common mode of living because they preferred it to any other. Yet they honestly think there is no choice left. But alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear."

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