The saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, has been around since the 30s and while it can’t be attributed to any one person there have been several who’ve alluded to it. In particular, Milton Friedman used it as a title to his collection of magazine columns, published in book form in 1975, in which he explains the economic realities underlying current political and social issues. Campbell McConnell acknowledged it, writing that “the idea is the core of economics”. Given the widespread use and scholarly recognition of the saying, why are there so many people who still demand something for nothing?
The economic crises facing countries throughout the world, including the United States, are the direct result of people demanding too much and contributing too little. For example, in the United States where 47 percent of its citizens pay no federal income tax and 52.6 percent receive some form of government financial assistance there is an inability in the legislative body to agree on where spending should be cut in order to achieve a balanced budget and trim the federal deficit. Similar scenarios are being played out throughout the world as citizens cling to their entitlements while pointing accusatorily towards corporations, blaming them for their countries economic woes.
Wake up people! There is no such thing as a free lunch.
In my lifetime I’ve been both an employee and an employer and in either case I’ve witnessed people who felt that they are entitled to be paid by just showing up for work. I attribute this attitude to parents who give their kids everything they want without requiring them to do household chores, teachers who pass failing kids from grade to grade just to process them through the system, and the federal government whose safety net has turned into a supporting structure.
As a business owner I’ve seen profit margins narrow and regulations expand while the threats of increasing taxes are ever-present. My advice to business owners who want to remain competitive in the market and still make a profit is to keep their business’s operations very lean through the reduction of staff by weeding out those individuals who do not perform. It is time to send a message to employees and let them know that there is no such thing as a free lunch.