Who’s Entitled?

August 30, 2012 in Economics, Home, Small Business Perspective

Entitlement: a notion or belief that one is deserving of some particular reward or benefit.

I often hear arguments that social programs cause people to become overly entitled. It can be true; when you learn to rely on something you can become dependent on it. These social programs don’t create poverty; they’re a necessity for society.  People become entitled  for the same reason we are all accustomed on our own ways of life and have come to feel entitled to what we have.

People earn their entitlements many ways: hard work, mediocre work, pure greed/oppression, free money given through charitable means, inheritance, or even being told “the customer is always right”. The catch is…. our way of life is dependent on one another. At some point in America we all stopped appreciating what we have and what our society has achieved through co-operative use of our government. Some of our greatest entitlements are scarce resources like water and food, which are kept price stable by government. When private industry won’t do something, then we use our government to create it. We can’t forget all entitlements we have achieved with this model of nation building.

– Roads, Bridges, Mass Transit, Walkways and Parks.
– Affordable utilities
– Schools and Internet
– Police and Military
– Economic Stability (Social Safety Nets and Laws/Regulations)
– World domination
– Large corporations
– Unions

Consumer Entitlement: 

By the same means that people become entitled to government and social programs, some American’s have come to feel entitled to everything they can afford as consumers in the private sector. I often hear, “I work hard for my money” and “The government can’t tell me how to spend my money.” Then when some consumers do spend their money, they want the most out of it and even sometimes feel entitled to a better price than everyone else. Nearly every person has been an abuser of consumer entitlements at some time; it’s clear to me that this has formed a greater “entitlement complex” than our government and social programs. When you consider that only 8% of people using welfare programs are taking advantage, you’ll realize it could be worse. While everyone is using consumer entitlements daily. So, the real problem is the entitlement monsters our private sector has created; swelling their customers pride with false confidence in order to convince them to spend more money. If people have been trained to abuse entitlements it is because of this consumer entitlement.

There are some difficult barriers to success for a small businesses, but consumer entitlement is the biggest one I have faced. The big companies give so many perks and do such a great job of coddling customers, how can a small business offer the same entitlements? Consumer entitlement create barriers for small business. I am arguing that the private industry contributes greater to the behaviors that cause people to feel entitled to everything else, including government benefits.  Our society is full of jealousy, gluttony, and greed; all forms of self interest that drive our well oiled capitalist economic system. While this has brought great growth and prosperity, we must be careful of the message we are sending to people. It’s easy to see why people often show no appreciation for other people’s money, that their lives depend on. Similarly so, those at the top often explain they are entitled to their extreme concentrations of wealth because they worked harder. Yet those in the hard working middle class feel squeezed by the greed above and below; making many people either anti-wealth or anti-social programs.

Greed and envy will always accompany entitlements so if you don’t want them in your society, purge them from yourself first.

If you desire any benefit or reward that you belief you deserve, you’re feeling entitled. That’s everyone.

Every luxury purchase you make is claiming an entitlement. Every coupon or discount you ask for is an entitlement. The only way to live without entitlement abuse is within an unrealistic Utopian socialist society. So accept the negative consequences of capitalism… and try your best to set a good example for those who may envy you.