The Difference Between Volunteering and Forced Giving – A Tale of a Traveler, Poor Woman and Scheming Farmer

by Guest Author

This is a guest article by Kevin who writes at Invest It Wisely.

What is the difference between receiving aid from a charity, and receiving aid from a government? Are they both the same, or is there a qualitative difference between them? Without going too deep into the differences, one can say that the most significant difference between the two is that one is given freely from the heart, while the other is given from people who contribute because they must.

What is the difference between volunteerism and forced giving? Read on to find out more and read about Mickey’s adventures, as he grapples with both.

A Tale of a Traveler, a Poor Woman, and a Scheming Farmer

Once upon a time, in a very distant land, there was a man named Mickey who lived on an island. Every week, he traveled from his house on one side of the island to the market in the town of Silenia, on the other side. One day, a series of heavy rains washed out his normal route, so he was forced to take a side route to the market.

As he walked down the road, he came across a poor woman living in a dilapidated hut. There were three dirty children playing outside, and some empty whiskey bottles lying nearby in the ditch.

“Sir, won’t you please help us? I have barely anything to eat and the kids are hungry!” she called out to Mickey. Her name was Denise. Mickey saw that the kids could use a bit of food, and his heart went out for them, but he didn’t have much food to spare. He also didn’t like what he had seen in the ditch, so he didn’t want to enable the woman’s habit by giving her coin. “Ma’am, I have but some dried bread and meat to spare, but I know of a charity in town that will be able to help you out; I know that they will help your children, and they will ensure that your needs are met.”, Mickey told her, and after sharing his food with her and the children, he was on his way again.

An hour later, Mickey passed by a corn field. The farmer was sitting outside his house, next to a stand of corn and a strange looking machine. “Sir, you look famished! Come over here and have some corn!” the farmer called out to Mickey. Mickey was curious, so he stopped on by to talk to the farmer. The farmer, whose name was Gorian, welcomed Mickey, and offered him some freshly steamed corn.

“Sir, would you like to invest in a great money-making opportunity? You see this machine here? Well, corn goes in one end, and ethanol comes out the other!” the farmer told Mickey. This was the time when gasoline-powered automobiles were starting to be used, but many people (like Mickey) did not yet own one. “You can mix that on with gasoline and power your car with that! No need to import from Zorland!” Gorian said.

Mickey’s curiosity was now stoked, so he asked Gorian if he could write up a business case for him. “Well, let’s see here, I put in this corn, and the price of gas is this much, so I can sell my blend for this much and make a profit!” the farmer told Mickey with glee. Mickey deliberated over the numbers, but didn’t feel quite at ease. “Now, wait just a second… you didn’t consider costs for fertilizer, or for plowing the field and harvesting the corn. Once you add in all of those factors, I would be surprised if you have any profit left over at all!” he exclaimed. “I’m sorry, but I’m just going to have to pass. If I were you, I’d keep that corn around for food!” he told the farmer as he continued on his way.

Mickey went into town, got what he needed at the market, and stopped by his favorite charity to donate and to let them know of the woman. They promised that they would help her and see to it that her children were well fed. Mickey then headed back home the same way that night, and did not see Gorian or Denise on the way back.

A week passes…

As the week passes by, the charity visits Denise, and works with her to help her get back on her feet, kick her habit, and provide for her children. She appreciates the help, but resents the charity’s moralizing. “What kind of right do they have to tell me how to live my life? It’s my business to decide, and nobody else’s!” she thinks to herself.

The week wasn’t great for Gorian. He managed to swindle some money out of an investor, but the investor has subsequently sued him, and he now has a court case in a few weeks. “Forget that court! Don’t they see how important it is to reduce our reliance on Zorland’s exports?” he thinks to himself.

Some other people traveled the same path during this time, and one of them was a scheming thug named Borat. He came upon Denise, who approached him in the same way that she had approached Mickey. “Sir, spare some change for the children, please…?” she asked. “Bugger off woman…” he replied. “Sir, please!” she begged. Borat thought for a bit, and then had an idea.

“Woman, I’ll get you some money… but in return, I want some tribute. You don’t have much to spare, but you have two hands. Every time I pass by, you shine my shoes and give me a nice shoulder massage. In return, I’ll get you some coin!” he told Denise. Denise was reluctant, but then she thought to herself “Well, at least I won’t have that pesky charity moralizing at me and telling me how I should live!”, and with that, she accepted Borat’s offer.

“Has anyone else passed by these parts lately?” he asked her. “Yes, there was one man who passed by last week, but he only gave me a little bit of food.” she told Borat. Borat then continued on his way.

Borat then approached Gorian, the ethanol-peddling farmer, and rejected his investment idea. “Promise to feed me some corn and give me some of that ethanol every time I pass by these parts, however, and I’ll find a sucker for you!”, he told Gorian, and another deal was struck. “You know what, there’s this one guy in particular… he came this way last week. Maybe he’ll come this way again…” and Gorian gave Borat Mickey’s description and name. Borat then camped out a little ways down the road past Gorian’s farm, and spent a couple days there camping out, waiting.

An unsuspecting traveler travels down the same way…

It was the end of the week, and it was time for Mickey to make his trip to the market, again. He filled his purse with coins and headed down the same way he took last time, as the other road had not yet been repaired.

He passed by Denise again and noticed that the hut was improved and the kids looked cleaner and healthier. He again gave her some food, but due to her habit, was again reluctant to give her actual coin.

Mickey passed by the same farmer as before, but this time, instead of an offer of free corn and an investment pitch, he received nothing but a scowl and a warning to stay off his land.

Mickey was nearing town when a tall, burly man stepped out into the middle of the road, forcing him to a halt. The man was Borat; Borat had been waiting for Mickey to pass by. “What’s the trouble, man?” Mickey said to Borat. “The problem is that you are a very greedy man, Mickey. Yes, I know your name and I know who you are. Twice now have you spurned that poor woman and her family, and you refused to help Gorian! Don’t you know how important it is for us to be independent of fuel imports from Zorland?” he boomed at Mickey.

“Well, I, uh… well, I’ve helped that woman plenty! I had a charity provide her with direct aid, and as for that farmer, his business is nothing but a scam! Wasteful of resources, I tell you!” Mickey said in disbelief. “I’ll now be on my way sir, if you don’t mind!” he said to Borat, as he tried to walk around him.

“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!” Borat yelled in a rage, as he pulled a shotgun off his back and aimed it directly at Mickey’s chest. “I’ll make you an offer you better not refuse. You give me half of all your money right now and I’ll let you walk. Otherwise, you can kiss the tip of my shotgun right here and say goodnight, and I’ll just take all of it!” he said to Mickey, in a deadly calm voice.

“What right do you have to do this!? You have no right to take my money!” Mickey said in a rage. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do; do you remember Denise and Gorian? Well, I work for them, now, and anyone who passes through these parts has to pay up!” Borat said. “What! I never agreed to that!” Mickey replied. “Well, you better believe it! I believe it’s 2 against 1, so it looks like you gotta pay up, buddy!” Borat said, as he pushed the shotgun into Mickey’s chest. “Well, I guess I have no choice in the matter.” Mickey said, as he emptied out his coins. There were 20 gold coins in there, and he handed 10 of them over to Borat. “Thanks, my friend, and I’ll be keeping an eye on you!” Borat said, as he smiled in triumph. Mickey walked on toward town, feeling nothing but disbelief, disgust, and rage.

A distribution of ill-gained rewards

Borat was quite happy with himself, as he whistled to himself as he walked down the road. “You know, I can’t do this thing forever. Denise and Gorian might tire of paying me tribute, or Mickey might come after me seeking retribution and revenge. I think I had better keep 6 of these coins for myself. I’ll let Denise have 2, and give the other 2 to Gorian.” Borat thought to himself.

He saw Gorian first, and gave him his two gold coins. “What, that’s it?” he exclaimed. “It’s better than nothing. You better take it and keep your trap shut, if you know what’s good for you!” Borat said in reply. “All right, all right… I’ll let you have more of my corn if you can get me more coin! With this coin, I can lower my prices and compete!” Gorian said, as Borat walked off.

Borat then passed by Denise, and handed her two coins. “Wow… you know how many bottles and how much jewelry I can buy with this?” she said to Borat. “I don’t care, woman, so long as you pay me your tribute every time I pass by!” Borat said, as he went off into the night.

He was feeling good about himself; he had managed to improve the lives of a couple of his fellow citizens, as well as gain a nice nest egg for himself. Borat was considering whether to keep the money around for his retirement, or simply go into town and have a wild night. He continued to fantasize as he disappeared into the distance.

Mickey was already taking his case up with the court, but it turned out that the “thug” was well connected and could not be touched. He forced himself to take the washed-out path home, even though it was muddy and slippery. “How dare that thug rob me like that… no respect for my rights at all!” he thought. The next time he saw a poor family, he was so embittered by his experience that he shoved them out of his way. “I’ve had enough of you and your kind!” he said in disgust.

Moral of the story

This story shows the difference between how a charity operates and how a coercive agency operates. There is a difference between giving aid and money voluntarily, and being forced to give it. Borat is the most simplified example of redistributing wealth by force, instead of it being redistributed voluntarily.

We can see this kind of difference in our everyday lives, as well. For example, we have many charities around the world today, to which we can voluntarily contribute. We also pay taxes to the government, which is then used for various social goals. The difference between government aid and charity is that charity is voluntary and given by willing people to those in need. Government aid is simply pooled wealth that has been collected under penalty of jail time and asset confiscation. There is a moral difference between the two.

Wealth redistribution by force causes issues for both the giver of wealth and the receiver of wealth. The giver of wealth is forced to support programs that he/she may not necessarily agree with, such as programs to drop bombs on other countries, programs to subsidize corn ethanol production, and programs to erect huge tenements for the poor in the name of social segregation and planning. Some people would take offense to this, while others would support it, but there is no choice in the matter.

The receiver of wealth also has to deal with some moral issues. If I asked you if it is OK to accept charity from a thief, what would you say? When it comes to accepting government aid, you need to also accept the fact that people were forced to give up some of their wealth in order to provide that aid for you. Some of those people might not necessarily agree with that, but they had no choice in the matter.

We are dependent on each other, but the best way to promote a healthy balance between that dependence and individualism is by respecting property, encouraging voluntary interdependence, and by nurturing a mutual respect for each other. It’s important to keep the moral distinction between voluntary aid and coerced aid in mind lest people equate the two.

When it comes to government aid, the best you can do is ask yourself if the money will be put to better use than it would have had the government spent the money on something else, since the money has already been taken from the people. What you can’t do though is ever compare it to help and money given voluntarily, by a willing person, out of the kindness of their heart.

As fellow blogger Joe Plemon said on his blog post Four Lessons From Some Wealthy Beggars, “One element of volunteerism that is totally lacking in government assistance is the four letter word “Love”. With volunteerism, the giver is offering love and the recipient feels loved. With government aid, the giver feels like he has been hi-jacked and the recipient feels entitled.”

For that reason, voluntary giving will always be superior to government aid, because it is given out of the freedom of the will, rather than taken from people who may be willing or not. Nothing can beat the feeling of voluntarism, whether you are the giver or the receiver. Indeed, being the giver can be the best feeling of all.

Kevin currently lives the white collar lifestyle, but his real dream is to get out of the rat race one day. He enjoys exploring unvisited places around the world and gaining new experiences. He believes that by properly managing our energy and time, we can learn to invest our lives wisely.


Joe Plemon August 19, 2010 at 6:47 am

I love these stories that get me hooked before sneaking a teaching point in the back door. Well done. Volunteerism will always trump extracted collections.

Mich @BeatingTheIndex August 19, 2010 at 9:40 am

Great Post Kevin,

You get your point across loud and clear. Giving from ones’ self with love will always trump every other form of giving.


Len Penzo August 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Bravo! The big fear I hear by many people is, “If the government didn’t tax us and redistribute it to the truly needy, then it wouldn’t get done at all.”

What a crock!

The fact is, people end up giving more money to all charities when they can choose who to give it to.

All the best,

Len Penzo dot Com

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Hey Len,

Are you also in Akismet spam hell, like me? 😉

If anyone remembers elementary school and high school, then they know that ostracism and other social pressures can be even more powerful than physical force. Just look at the recent move by billionaires to appear generous.

On the other hand, if you have to twist someone’s hand to get them to help, why do you even want their help? Aid that is not freely given is no longer aid; it’s extortion.

Nobody begrudges Aladdin for stealing a loaf of bread, since he needed to do that to survive. In today’s world however, we steal all of the time from our neighbours, not just to survive, but to have our cake and eat it too. It’s this kind of thinking that leads to resentment, entitlement, and things blowing up in our faces!

Mike August 20, 2010 at 6:37 am

Hey Kevin,

I enjoyed your post. I agree the act of giving voluntarily makes for a win-win. This post seems quite timely. I am hoping the government doesn’t take the incentive away to give to charities but it seems we are heading that way. Anyway, good info and post…Take Care, Mike

Barb Friedberg August 20, 2010 at 8:43 am

I love giving at sites like Finca & Oxfam where skills for sef sufficiency are rewarded. Anyone for the : “teach a man/woman to fish…..” proberb? Thanks for a great story!

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 20, 2010 at 9:24 am

Yep, voluntary giving will always be better because both parties come out of the exchange feeling improved and better off.

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

Khaleef @ KNS Financial August 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

Kevin, this is an excellent post that illustrates the problem with forced “giving”! Plus, our government is so inefficient, that much is wasted and would be better off in the hands of real charities!

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Yep, and not only that, but by concentrating the power to spend in that fashion, you guarantee that it’s going to be politically connected and based on political considerations. People would likely spend the money differently if they had direct control and were only spending their own money, as they would then spend it in accordance with their personal values rather than a political agenda. Thanks for the comment!

Mike August 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm

If I am forced, am I really giving? I have always said the problem with politics (not taking sides – but in general) is that politicians are too easily able to spend tax payers money without consequence. This may be a little off topic but think about it – If I am not able to choose who or where I want to give, the meaning is lost – at least a bit. By choosing who I give to, I am part of the process and am able to make a difference in things that matter to me. I don’t want this chosen for me.

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 20, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Good point, Mike. It is not really “giving” when we have no choice in the matter, and the decisions are all left to those “in charge”.

Forest August 22, 2010 at 6:00 am

Great story and interesting anologies…. My take on the whole matter is mixed but in an ideal world I am a total socialist. I think the government should take a larger percentage of my money the more I earn and keep the gap between rich and poor as small as possible. Sadly I acknowledge that no government has ever successfully done this without corruption and taking a piece of the pie for themselves!

On the other hand though if you eliminated government giving then it’s quite simple that people would not give enough out of pure willingness to help others and the rich/poor gap would become a gaping chasm…. As it is in many countries where Government assistance to the poor is not a priority.

In short, I have no idea what the solution should be but I do think that the government as to keep stealing our cash to stop things going way out of control. I just wish there was no war and more hospital building!

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Hey Forest,

Like you, I also see injustice in our world; however, giving some people the power to rule over others will never lead to greater justice. Men are not angels, and I don’t believe that some men are “more deserving” than others, nor do I believe that some men have the right to control the lives of others.

Even if men were angels, they still could not redistribute wealth in a more efficient method than the individual actions of players. Why not? Because they wouldn’t know how to spend the money. They wouldn’t know if people needed more fridges, if they needed more schooling, more housing, or what. Only each individual actor can possibly know his/her own subjective values, and only through free and voluntary interaction with others do we arrive at trade and exchange that benefits all parties involved. The political process, in retrospect, can only help one group by hurting another.

The strongest requirements to a just and prosperous society is a society where people are treated equally; where everyone has the equal opportunity to succeed (or fail), and where everyone’s rights are protected. When people have varying sets of rights (as with all political systems today to a varying degree), or when their rights are not protected, then justice suffers as a result.

As for war, it is much easier to wage war when you have a strong centralization of power and a high level of coercion in the society.

Here are some of the many powers that strong states have that make it easier for them to conduct war:

* Draft soldiers; force civilians to participate in the effort.
* Steal value from the populace by inflating the currency.
* Force the civilians to contribute by collecting taxes.

If you want to invade other countries, it will be much more difficult to do so without these government monopoly powers.

I laud some of the end goals of socialism (end of war, end of poverty, etc…) but the means are mistaken. Giving some people more privilege over others by fiat does not improve justice for all, and even if men were angels, there are still problems of knowledge. Conversely, those areas of the world with the best and fairest rules and law, and those that respect human rights, are those that improve the human condition the most. This might be interesting for you:

Thanks for your comment!

Forest August 24, 2010 at 1:53 am

Hey Kevin,

I still really think left to our own devices we would not look after each other like we should.

Free markets and capitalism seem to widen the rich/poor gap and give ultimate power to the people who already have the money (I understand that is not the goal but it is the reality). Just look at the state of USA when it comes to the ruling of the corporations…. Freedom has actually given them control (think about Monsanto).

As for more control, it’s weird because from my experience it brings more freedom. Take Sweden…. They have a very socialist and in many ways controlled society. Yet they have the smallest rich/poor gap in the world, accomplished social services and in general are doing just fine…. Oh and they are not involved in any silly wars (to my knowledge). The same goes for Germany who seem to even be recovering from the mess left behind by the recent Euro crash and woes of Greece.

I’m not for all out communism or complete equality designated through govermental control. But if the governments voted in by the people execute an even distribution of wealth for everyone’s basic well being then people can worry less about survival and more about succeeding and flourishing within an already stable society.

The every man for himself/lone ranger (even if that man helps a few others along the way) mantra seems to create too many losers from my observations.

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

Nice! Now I think I know where some of the difference in opinion is coming from: we are using different definitions of “free market”. You are using the TV or “George Bush” definition, I believe. My definition is neither right-wing nor left-wing: it is a human definition of what a “free market” really is. I’ll explain my definition a little more, and then we can continue the discussion from there.

As you said yourself, no man (save for Robinson Crusoe) is an island unto himself. Everyone must exchange and trade with others in order to acquire the goods and services that he needs. There are only two types of exchanges:

* Voluntary exchanges with informed consent.
* Everything else.

The free market is nothing more than the set of all exchanges of the first type. Everything else does not belong to the free market, since the exchange is not free by definition.

So, what is the free market? Going to the store and buying parts for your computer is the free market. Giving to charity is the free market. Going to Cambodia and building houses for poor villagers is the free market.

Now there are two assertions that you made: One that the free market widens the rich/poor gap (I understand this to mean that you believe that the poor are worse off under free markets). I recommend you watch this TED talk to see just how much humanity has benefited from the idea of specialization and trade (again, the free market):
I won’t go into more detail here, but in sum, the poor are far better off today than they have been at any time in society. You and me are “poor” compared to Bill Gates, but we are filthy rich. Even people working at minimum wage are filthy rich, when you consider the amazing access to technology that we have today. China is most certainly not a free society, but the standards of living over there have tremendously improved since they started liberalising the market place. It was only a few decades ago when tens of millions of Chinese were dying due to famine and starvation. I’m sure nobody would argue against the idea that Hong Kong has been a much better place to live than mainland China; well, guess what the reason for that was: A free economy and good rules and law. That was China’s inspiration, to show them that there is a better way.

Now the second assertion that you made: Monsanto. Monsanto is an example of fascism, not the free market. I am of the view that patents are illegitimate, but I am especially of the view that patents on nature are a gross violation. Who in their right mind supports the idea that if some seeds blow onto your land, you are now forced to pay money to a corporation? This is corporatism and can even be considered fascism, but it is clearly an involuntary exchange.

About Sweden: Haven’t lived there or done too much research, so I am unfortunately ignorant on the situation. They are, however, “mostly free” according to this index:

The free market is not about “radical individualism” or “every man for himself” and has nothing to do with that. This is simply a confusion of a TV definition of the free market with the idea of voluntary and involuntary exchange. Under a free market, people are perfectly free to engage in charity or voluntary communism, or whatever else they prefer!

Finally, let’s do a thought experiment. We are all bloggers, and we all make various amounts of money, right? Well, let’s say I make $100,000 a year, and you make $1 a year. There would be a 100,000:1 income disparity between us. Now, is there anything wrong with that? You alluded to a gap between the “rich and the poor”.

Now, you have two choices: You can learn from me on how I am so successful, so that you can increase your own income, or you can just take my income to make us more equal. Would it be OK for you to ask me to simply hand over 40% of my income so as to reduce our gap to 3:2 from 100,000:1? Well, actually, it is OK for you to ask me, but what if I refuse? Is it then OK for you to get a third party to force me to do it? This, in essence, is what socialism is all about. It is a violation of the whole concept of voluntary exchange by placing an imposition on everyone to give up. The only real benefit that can come out of that is that you will be less envious of my success, because it’s now been taken from me. I, in turn, will feel resentment, and you will feel entitled. Some societies can handle it due to homogeneity and culture and where most people support it (hey, it’s voluntary in that case), but otherwise, that is what leads to the rot of society at large.

Were the barriers to movement to be much more fluid in the future, I would be more OK with this. If someone doesn’t like it, it would be easy for them to move to another place. However, I don’t think it’s entirely OK since it’s still legal discrimination by one group against another. Just because it’s not Germans against Jews anymore doesn’t mean it’s perfectly OK.

I recognize that you don’t like to see a big gap between the rich and poor. I place more emphasis on absolute poverty, myself, and my heart really goes out when I see how living conditions are in some countries. The poorest of us in the rich countries are spoiled rotten compared to some of these places… but the world isn’t going to change in one day. I recommend you look at this: to see a way in which we can improve government all around, since poverty is really about bad rules. Improve the rules, the most important being protection of life and property, and you greatly improve the ability of people to get out of poverty. Read it some, and let me know what you think.

Thanks for the good discussions, Forest.

Derek Clark August 24, 2010 at 9:56 am

A few points. First, the free market we have in America made it the most wealthy country in the world. There is a big gap between the rich and the poor, but there is also a big gap between our “poor” and the poor in the rest of the world. Our poverty line is incredibly rich compared to many places, don’t forget to consider that.

Next, you suggest that “if the governments voted in by the people execute an even distribution of wealth for everyone’s basic well being then people can worry less about survival and more about succeeding and flourishing.” If you study human behavior you will see this isn’t the case at all. If you remove the potential reward for success, there is no point in working hard to succeed. The people that want to work hard and succeed will move somewhere they can be rewarded for their work.

Finally, if you want more of your money to go to the poor, there is no need to wait for the government to take it. You are welcome to give it to them freely at any time.

Mich@BeatingTheIndex August 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Hi Forest,

Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and never will. With that out of the way, as much as I care about the others, I do not believe in a totally socialist system where most of my money is taken by the government. What’s the point of studying and working hard? I’ll take on an easy job and get subsidized!

I think sales taxes should be increased to thwart any tax evasion by businesses and it’s fair since if you can afford a high priced item you can afford the taxes. With that, simplifying personal income tax is the best way for a fair taxation system.

Living out here in Quebec I am so sick of paying taxes especially when the government is in deficit year in year out. Sorry for the rant 🙂

Kim August 24, 2010 at 11:11 am


There will be injustice no matter what system we used. Communism and socialism is rife with a huge gap between the have and have not. We just don’t get to see it because the information is repressed.

I believe strongly in the good of people. All the thousands of people that I volunteered with over the years are my basis for the belief. My board members and I have gone as far as pledging our homes as collateral to get money from banks to feed poor seniors when the government withheld funding for our Meals on Wheels program. Mind you, their portion is only $.30/ per dollar of costs. We fund the rest of out of donations from the community.

The gaping chasm between poor and rich has to do with education. I work with thousands of blue and white collar workers because we manage their 401K plans. I can’t even begin to list the sheer amount of people who ignore our free advice and took money out (not because of need) but because of family recommendations or to spend on a want. We educate them but you can’t force someone to learn or listen.

I spent 2 hrs recently to counsel a young man from stripping his entire retirement (every single accounts, Roth, IRA, 401K) to use as a downpayment on a house. He will be left with less than $400 after escrow closing. He ignored me. It’s not my fault that he choose to be dumb.

Why do you think it’s fair that I work 18 hrs a day to pay my employees and to generate jobs but I also have to give more of my earning to someone who chooses to work less and therefore has less assets than I do.

I love what I do but there are days when you are so overwhelmed with all the regs and paperwork and stress especially if you have employees. If we move more to distribution of wealth, I’ll gladly not work anymore and just have someone hand out money to me to make sure that I get a fair distribution of their efforts.

It’s easier for me to fire everyone and just do enough to support my family or retire next year when the last kid is out of college. I could cut my cost dramatically and go pay per piece for service. The reason why I choose the harder road is because of pride in doing the job well instead of just so so.

America would not be the country of innovation if we had not had capitalism. China is moving to our model because theirs has not worked for 50 years. They’re scratching their heads right now wondering why the US is going backwards on everything and copying failed systems instead of forging new paths like we used to.

Kevin August 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Hi Kevin,

Khaleef from KNSfinancial sent me over with his roundup.

What a great post and a wonderful story. I was wondering where you were leading.

I agree with Mike about forced giving.

One of the issues that many people don’t realize about government programs is that we have so many that are unused or improperly used that our tax money is wasted. For example, I’ve worked with small businesses for over 25 years and know most of the programs out there in details.

I can tell you that many are gathering dust while people clamor for more money for more programs. The funds for the original programs in the meantime gets diverted to the government general fund because there is no need or usage. Other programs are so badly misused because our government officials in DC don’t understand how businesses are run and don’t listen to the local offices.

I think people would be even more upset if they realized that their tax dollars are being increased unnecessarily in a lot of cases.

Kevin@InvestItWisely August 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Hey Kevin,

I’ve once heard an analogy that government rot is similar to software rot: Eventually, you reach a point where refactoring (or creating new laws) just doesn’t work anymore, and you need to start tossing things out.

At least in software, there are competitive pressures coming from competitors. I don’t think that there’s enough competition between governments in order to encourage the “weeding out” process; in fact, they often like to form cartels and collude with each other!

Thanks for your comment.

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