Expecting too much

Sometimes people hold an attitude which I call "expecting too much," even if they do not always articulate this view as such.  Here are a few possible examples:

Some Germans: "Yes we know that the eurozone is problematic for some of the poorer countries.  We expect that they get their fiscal house in order, and produce some major productivity gains, as we have done in the past.  We expect this even if we don't quite tell them this."

Some Americans: "I expect my government to solve Problem X (fill in the blank, the list is a long one) without raising my taxes, and in the meantime I will refuse to countenance a tax increase.  To support this attitude I am willing to sound fiscally unreasonable, if necessary."

Some economists: "It is a tough labor market, to be sure.  Yet it is expected that you be willing to move around to get a job, as many immigrants do, or that you find a way to make a lower wage work for your life and for an employer.  My grandparents managed that, why can't you?"

There are numerous other examples.  Is "expecting too much" ever a reasonable attitude?  A reasonable tool of motivation?  A reasonable bargaining stance?  A reasonable defensive strategy against institutions which will otherwise treat you unfairly or perhaps even rapaciously?

I find that expressions of "expecting too much," whether they are articulated as such or not, often send intellectual opponents, on the respective issues, into a fury.

"Expecting too much" is a frequent attitude among the American public today and it is rooted in common sense morality.  To the extent "expecting too much" is a reasonable point of view, the public is wiser than its critics will admit.

I am still debating how much reasonable force there is behind this kind of argument.


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