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June 28th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

“Deserve” is a word I hear frequently from my progressive friends (but rarely/never from an economist). The word is usually conjured up as a straw man argument. “Those millionaires actually believe they deserve that money!” etc. Sometimes it’s used as Robert Reich did here as in the rich “don’t deserve it.”

Even in unguarded moments, I do hear millionaires use the word “lucky” frequently, but “deserve” — never. Those with the tragic worldview don’t have any kind of evaluation of “cosmic deservedness” present in their mindset. The presumption of knowledge of what the cosmos desire is opaque at best and non-existent at worst.

Regardless, the word bubbles up in my brain every time I see scenes like this from Greece. Consider the retirement benefits of these militant beneficiaries of monopoly rents as described by the New York Times:

(emphasis mine)

“Vasia Veremi may be only 28, but as a hairdresser in Athens, she is keenly aware that, under a current law that treats her job as hazardous to her health, she has the right to retire with a full pension at age 50.

“…it is still difficult to explain to outsiders why the Greek government has identified at least 580 job categories deemed to be hazardous enough to merit retiring early — at age 50 for women and 55 for men.”

“As a consequence of decades of bargains struck between strong unions and weak governments, Greece has promised early retirement to about 700,000 employees, or 14 percent of its work force, giving it an average retirement age of 61, one of the lowest in Europe.”

“…it also covers radio and television presenters, who are thought to be at risk from the bacteria on their microphones, and musicians playing wind instruments, who must contend with gastric reflux as they puff and blow.”

“Deserve” indeed…


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