How Dare You Volunteer!

The skeptical doctor starts off this week’s Takimag column with reference to an old cricket match before weaving his way through the topics of volunteerism, professional managerialism, and bureaucratic incompetence.

Even the very rich now feel a psychological or social pressure to do something for money, even without any economic imperative. I leave it to others to decide whether the disappearance of a leisure class is a good or a bad thing, though viscerally I feel that, overall, it is bad, inasmuch as a leisure class is able in theory to devote itself to the higher activities of a civilization. When the rich (of whom there are more than ever) involve themselves nowadays in conspicuous consumption, it is usually in bad taste. Good taste requires discipline and knowledge, which few are either able or prepared to exercise or acquire.

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