The 10 Cannots
April 16, 2013 4 Comments
Often mis-attributed to Abraham Lincoln,the following ten cannots were put forth by Rev. Boetcker. They had a profound effect on Margaret Thatcher.She is supposed to have carried a news-paper clipping of these 10 cannots in her now famous handbag.
- You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
- You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
- You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
- You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
- You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
- You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
- You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
- You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
- You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
- And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
Lady Thatcher believed that societies have to encourage and reward the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs, who alone create the wealth without which governments cannot do anything, let alone help the weak. A country can prosper only by encouraging people to save and to spend no more than they earn; profligacy (and, even worse, borrowing) were the road to perdition. The essence of Thatcherism was a strong state and a free economy.
Her views might be very unpopular today when the political sentiments favour greater government controls and welfare spends.Consumption,even if it is backed by credit is seen as a way of pump-priming economies and beating recessions.Increasing direct taxes is seen as virtuous.Stroking wealth envy is easy but we cannot disregard the above homilies and prosper.