Givers or Takers In Society

August 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

An article in (Fri 12 Aug) London Times reports a National Health Service exec suggesting that

“People should be confronted with their “care footprint” to persuade them to make better use of limited NHS resources, just as environmentalists have used carbon footprints to shame people into consuming less …..  the idea would encourage debate about how best to spend a restricted health budget as demand continues to rise….. the care footprint should differentiate between “discretionary use” — which can be controlled by lifestyle choices — and “nondiscretionary” requirements such as for accidents and inherited disease.”   and “If you look at every healthcare system in the world they are all faced with rising costs. We need to lead a debate with the public about our relationship with our own health and how we use the resources.”

Sounds like a good start.

If it works, then how about extending it to the rest of life. Measure what people take from the communal pot – education, subsidies, benefits and pensions as well as health care – and compare with what you put in, in terms of taxes and levies. I suspect that quite a few of us would be in deficit – and not just the ‘dole-bludgers’ or ‘welfare queens’. We’d be surprised at how much we’ve charged to our national credit card, to be paid off by future generations.

I’d like to go even further. I’d like to find a way to distinguish between the givers and the takers – between those who add to society; who make the world a better place, and those who detract from it. Measure the big things – those who volunteer to help others is an obvious place to start. But doesn’t have to be big things – just little courtesies like binning rubbish or considerate driving.


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