Dependency on the state? or on private wealth?

It seems everyone is talking about ‘dependency‘ – on the state, on handouts, on services.

Being dependent is apparently a Very Bad Thing, where and whenever it occurs – a strange judgement when, conversely, we are also told that the Big Society, a proposition which rests on the presumption of sharing and social need, is Good. 

Somehow, it seems, we should be inter-connected and willing to go the extra mile to support and help others, but those in need should not be dependent on that support, if it comes from the state.

All of which is so much cant. (Cant: empty, uncritical thought or talk; surely a strikingly charitable way to describe this view of dependency?)

On the other hand, being wealthy is absolutely fine – just ask anyone in the Cabinet, which must be one of the most concentrated gatherings of millionaires in civic society.

But of course the independence from the state which Government ministers hold so dear is at base another, even more fundamental, dependence. 

Such ‘independence’ is a condition made possible by money and ownership, often inherited or otherwise acquired at little expenditure of skills and effort by those who have it.

Here is not cant, but straight hypocrisy. 

Wealth is of itself will always be with us.  We can and should ensure that its acquisition is scrupulously regulated, and ensure too that taxes are levied (and always paid) in a way which acknowledges the social and other challenges of inequity.  But political action beyond that is probably not going to be feasible or effective as things stand.

None of this however excuses the gross hypocrisy of wealthy people who accuse others with little or nothing of inappropriate dependency.

A big dose of humility is seemly in those with great wealth.

Their claimed independence is no such thing, for it is predicated on the ownership of substantial material resource…. just as the dependency on the state which many members of the Government excoriate is often predicated on life chances resulting in poverty and hopelessness.

It is in none of our interests to judge dependence, or its opposite, out of context.  Instead, we all need to understand much more about how states of dependency (or not) come about.

Judgements and political policy based on the moral high ground of owning material wealth are not just unpleasant.  They are the result of shoddy, smug and self-indulgent thinking; and they are fundamentally offensive.

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