Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Reward the innovators, not the middle class

On the weekend I was watching Rocky III on Fox Classics - that's the one where Rocky gets beaten up by Mr T (Clubber Lang) and comes back to win.

The moral of that story was all about complacency, and its flipside, the hunger to achieve. Clubber had the hunger, the young guys struggling in the gym had the hunger, but in the words of Rocky's trainer Mickey, Rocky had "become civilized".

Now Mickey had no problem with Rocky being civilized but he knew it was time for him to retire. He had lost the eye of the tiger, and couldn't compete with the hungry upstart Clubber.

So this is a typical tale of society.
  • The hungry upstarts work super hard and innovate. 
  • They succeed then become comfortable. 
  • They stop pushing the boundaries and have a decision to make: they can retire, comfortable; or they can go back to the beginning, work hard and recreate themselves to better the new upstarts.
Society has no responsibility to preserve the comforts of those who have gained them. In fact, society is best served by supporting the upstarts. Most western countries have been built on the toil and creativity of the upstarts.

In Australia, we should be proud of success stories like migrant businessman Frank Lowy and rags to riches gay pyjama icon Peter Alexander.

We should design public policy to support innovation whether at the upper levels of big business or at the lower levels of start ups.

And this innovation should not be confined to traditional areas such as economy, health and education. While they are essential areas, creative endeavors such as the arts and sport also need to be nurtured.

This does mean I am opposed to generalised middle class welfare. And yes, as a member if the middle class that means me too. 

Let me know what you think

Mark S

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