THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Socialists redacting history (at the taxpayers' expense)
Personal tutors, paid for by the International Monetary Fund?

A proper sense of priorities

American Thinker: Community service is not what made America great.

Reading the Institute of Directors' journal over lunch today my heart began to sink. Almost every story seemed to reference "social enterprise," companies' "green credentials" or "corporate social responsibility." Our "educators," the media and the luvvies of the art world have long preached that what is done for love is better than what is done for money. That this is now unchallenged even by the IOD makes it no less wrong.

I was considering how to articulate this controversial idea to my tender-hearted readers when a post by Washington Rebel saved me the trouble. It led me to this perfect statement by American Thinker. I have added that site to my daily reading list on the basis of three splendid paragraphs:

All we have is our time and our talents. We trade those for either money, pleasure or for service to others. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with trading a lot of your time and talent for money. In fact, until you have met all of your financial obligations to your family and your creditors, that is exactly how you should spend the majority of your time and talents. That is not greed. That is maturity.

Then and only then are you in a position to spend more of your time and talents in pleasurable or charitable pursuits. That's not to say you can't coach little league or go fishing until your mortgage is paid off -- it is to say that if you are living off the fruits of others while volunteering or agitating "for free," you are really not a volunteer at all. You are a mooch.

You are running up society's credit card but making yourself feel more virtuous than those actually paying for your habit because you are "not in it for the money."

Of course, those who choose to "give back" or "make a social contribution" are the moral superiors of those who spend their free time in idle pleasure. However, the key phrase is "free time." Time is only morally "free" after duties have been fulfilled and our first duty is to support ourselves and our dependents. If we are deploying the capital of others in our business life, then safeguarding it and delivering the highest legal return is (or should be) also a top priority. If the shareholders want to give their money to charity, they have the right to do so. The custodians of that money have no such right.

A corporate leader crowing about "corporate social responsibility" is on a moral par with a politician boasting of his "generosity" with taxpayers' cash. It is hypocrisy at best and fraud at worst.


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You are so right about the IoD's "Director" magazine which has morphed into a propaganda sheet for greenies, warmists, social entrepreneurs, sustainability nuts and multiple other parasites. A friend of mine recently was allowed to contribute a couple of hundred words on the subject of "Greenness" only to have his contribution filleted because he ventured to criticise (from evidence of its own financial accounts) the great temple of sustainability - the Eden project.

If you want a convenient meeting place in central London, the IoD HQ in Pall Mall is pretty good: if you want a voice in favour of wealth-creating enterprise, forget it - the previous DG even got rid of Ruth Lea because she had the nerve to point out the . . er . . deficiencies in the government's economic policies.


Actually, no. I don't think the state should intervene in employment contracts even when it "benefits" me or mine. My objection is not based on whether an intervention by the state costs me or costs others. My objection is to the market-distorting effect all intervention has. The market does not need to be forced not to waste qualifications, talents or effort. The Misses Paine's lifetime earnings would be greater without legislation making them less attractive employees. Far better to let the market price the effect of their prospective child-bearing on their careers than to force provisions into contracts with them that make employers reluctant to sign.


It's an excellent site and I've quoted them many times before, particularly on education issues. They say "American Thinker" but some of their themes are universal. Nice post, Tom.


Grumble, grump. Why won't Typepad let me sign it today with my usual ID and password.

Interesting how corporations have become the supporters of this or that over the years: sponsors of sporting events, the arts, theatre, symphony orchestras,charitable organizations. I am a shareholder of numerous companies and am asked to vote on this and that but never have I been asked to vote on any projects of that nature, although many of my companies give generously in this regard.

Even delivering the highest legal return to the shareholders has gone the way of the dodo as it seems they think we are the bottom of the list of priorities and do just as they think best and paying themselves grand bonuses to do it, even as the ship is sinking. And all with the collusion of their boards which is a handful of people who sit on each other boards and also make a fine living at it too. Cynical? You bet.

Interesting comment above I must say. Perhaps he would prefer the US system where my daughter was granted twelve weeks unpaid maternity leave and had to return after that or lose her job.

Of course it cost the state, well two countries coffers actually, a goodly sum to provide her twelve years of university education, $180,000 in scholarships and fellowships for the 6 yr PhD alone,
so would it be preferred she stay home and waste that or not contribute her talents to the gene pool? Not your statement I know Tom and you have two daughters and may one day have more personal thoughts on that subject.


Excellent article. I have just been discussing with a feminist why in her previous job young women were not hired because the firm would be expected to pay for their desires to have a child. I can see no reason why a company, or even the State, should pay for the indulgences you could not afford to do on your own.
She was not best pleased. Now her partner, (anyone who want's a career break -enquiries welcome) can drop the bombshell on their company that they are paying for six month's Leave.

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