31st October 2022

Recently I’ve been mulling over the notion of ‘trickle-down economics’. Put crudely it’s the theory that if you allow wealthy individuals and corporations to keep more of their gains by reducing their tax burden, they’ll spontaneously use this bonus in ways that benefit the rest of us; for example, by creating jobs or building museums and art galleries.

Undoubtedly there are those with such a mindset, but my own, perhaps jaundiced, view is that they’re the exception rather than the rule. It seems to me the rich – especially the very rich – tend to hang on to their riches and ever strive to make more! We might wonder what the gaps could be in a person’s life that makes them so obsessed with acquiring more personal wealth than they would ever need, but we’ll leave that for now.

Let’s stick with the questionable assumptions behind ‘trickle-down’. When it comes to providing help or support to people with much less, a trickle sounds to me rather reluctant and half-hearted. Why can’t it be a flood, or, at the very least, a steady stream? And what about this business of trickling DOWN, with its inference of superiority and inferiority, the beneficiaries looking UP to their betters in beholden gratitude? No thank you. I’d much prefer we tried something like ‘streaming out’, a mutual sharing as we’re able of what we have with our neighbour according to the need, helping without robbing someone of their dignity or implying our giving makes us better than they are.

(And sorry, if on this Halloween you were expecting something on saints or demonic powers!)

Ken Stewart