In Praise of the Industrious Poor

Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” – English writer Arthur Young, 18th century

12th April, 1895

A most delightful notion crossed my path today, courtesy of a particularly astute article in The Times. Apparently, a fellow by the name of Arthur Young – a keen observer of the human condition, no doubt – has posited a rather splendid theory! It seems the key to maintaining the industriousness of the lower classes lies in, well, keeping them demonstrably poor!

A touch of genteel poverty, the good man suggests, is the very lifeblood of industry!

Now, dear, don’t wrinkle your dear brow. This is pure genius! Imagine, the very pittance they earn serves as a constant,invigorating prod! A full belly, you see, breeds lethargy, a disinclination to exert oneself. But an empty stomach? That, my dear, is the mother of invention! It compels a chap to rise with the dawn, a veritable whirlwind of industriousness, all for the sake of a crust of bread and a roof over his head.

Simply brilliant, wouldn’t you say, dear? Imagine the chaos if these chaps, bless their simple hearts, were to find themselves with a comfortable sum in their pockets! Why, they’d be lounging about in idleness, wouldn’t they? Devouring pastries at all hours, neglecting their responsibilities, and who knows what other horrors might ensue!

No, poverty, my dear, is a most splendid motivator. It keeps the gears of industry well-oiled, wouldn’t you agree? A rumbling stomach is a powerful incentive to get oneself down to the factory at the crack of dawn! Why, imagine the streets filled with content, well-fed workers? Dreadful business, wouldn’t you say? Much better with a healthy dose of desperation to keep them sharp!

Think of it, Carrie! The streets positively bustling with activity! Cobblers hammering away with a fervour never before witnessed, chimney sweeps scaling buildings with the agility of squirrels, all fuelled by the delightful knowledge that a comfortable life is but a pipe dream!

One can only chuckle at the thought of a well-rested, well-fed working class. Who would clean the chimneys? Who would toil in the mills? Society would grind to a halt, wouldn’t it? No, indeed, Mr. Young has a point as sharp as a Savile Row suit! A touch of destitution is the secret ingredient to a well-functioning society, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, some might argue that a modicum of comfort wouldn’t be amiss. Nonsense! Why, the very act of striving, of clambering upwards, is what defines a man, wouldn’t you agree? Imagine a world where the lower classes, bless their cotton socks, were content with their lot! A world devoid of ambition, of the delightful spectacle of a man exceeding his station! Unthinkable!

No, Carrie, let us celebrate Mr. Young’s wisdom! Let the lower classes remain,  “appropriately motivated.” For in their relentless pursuit of a better life, a life they can never quite grasp, lies the very engine of our great nation’s progress! A touch of poverty, my dear, is the finest motivator a man can have!

Perhaps, as a gesture of goodwill, we could institute a yearly “Poverty Day.” A day where the fortunate, like myself, could share a crust of bread with a deserving chimney sweep, reminding them of the joys of… well, not having too much joy, wouldn’t you say? A gentle nudge to keep them on the industrious path.

Mr. Young, I salute you! Your wisdom is a beacon in these uncertain times. Let us all do our part to ensure the continued… uh… delightful impoverishment of the …, for the good of the empire, of course!