24
Jun
2005

Bush's empathy squeeze

06/23/05

Suppose a chauffeur drives a sleek limousine through the streets of New York, a millionaire in the back seat. Through the window, the millionaire spots a homeless woman and her two children huddling in the cold, sharing a loaf of bread. He orders the chauffeur to stop the car. The chauffeur opens the passenger door for the millionaire, who walks over to the mother and snatches the loaf. He slips back into the car and they drive on, leaving behind an even poorer family and a baffled crowd of sidewalk witnesses. For his part, the chauffeur feels real qualms about what his master has done, because unlike his employer, he has recently known hard times himself. But he drives on nonetheless. Let's call this the Chauffeur's Dilemma. Absurd as it seems, we are actually witnessing this scene right now. ... [L]et us take a moment to count the loaves of bread that have recently changed hands and those that soon will. Then, let's ask why so many people are letting this happen...

//www.tompaine.com/articles/20050623/bushs_empathy_squeeze.php

from Tom Paine, by Arlie Hochschild
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