What this is, is the opening shots in the inevitable decay of a Socialist economy. When productivity starts dropping and there are fewer resources available for redistribution, the leadership notes that the people aren’t working as hard as they used to. The obvious conclusion is that the people have gotten lazy, and the nomenklatura then start on a campaign to get people to work harder and more effectively. Look up some political posters from the USSR of the Twenties and Thirties for examples.
It isn’t true. What’s happening is that people are working more virtuously — in Socialist class-warfare terms.
The fundamental postulate of class warfare is that people who have “more” are to be envied. If they won’t give some (much) of their “more” to those who have “less”, they are Evil. People who are evil should be punished, and one way of punishing them is to take their stuff away.
Productive people always have “more” than unproductive ones, and as a rule feel proprietorial toward it. If they made it or grew it themselves, they feel that it’s theirs and will defend it. That means they don’t want to give it to those who have “less”, and under class warfare that makes them Evil. Nobody wants to be considered Evil, so people avoid doing things that gain them that label. Since productivity always results in the charge, the people choose virtue over evil — and productivity disappears. If there is no production, there is no wealth for the leadership class to control. The leadership class sees that and concludes that the people are lazy, where in reality the people are choosing virtuous behavior in the terms the leadership class have defined.
Several people have noted that college students today turn up their noses at the prospect of working for private corporations, instead choosing “public service” (a.k.a. Government employment) or NGOs that promote Good Causes. (See also: “Occupy Wall Street”) Working for a corporation would result in the corporation making a profit and therefore having “more” which it doesn’t choose to give to those who have “less”. It is therefore Evil to work for a corporation, and virtuous to work in organizations that attempt to suppress the Evil and distribute the “more” to those who have “less”. People who choose virtue in that context supply two hits to the economy. They do not themselves produce, and they work — work hard and virtuously — to suppress Evil productive activity.
A working definition of “Socialist” might well be “somebody who doesn’t realize that that cycle exists”. No Socialist can recognize the process, because it directly contradicts their ideals. They see that productivity is dropping and that as a result they have fewer resources to redistribute, and have no explanation for the effect. Since productivity is the result of work, they conclude that the people don’t want to work — that they are “lazy”.
But they can go to the factories and mills, or to the bureaucracies that support them, and see people working hard and virtuously. “Lazy” isn’t a sufficient explanation. Something must be preventing production, some malignant force that stops the production of wealth and makes their noble goals unattainable. The obvious candidate for that force is the people who say that Socialism doesn’t work. Those evil bastards must be sabotaging the virtuous folk, reducing production, creating poverty because they like poverty. If they didn’t like poverty, they would overwhelmingly support the actions of the Socialist idealists to eliminate it. It’s sabotage, pure and simple; tossing monkey-wrenches into the works just for the delight of preventing Good Things from happening. You’ll find those posters in the pre-WWII Soviet Union as well, growing more strident as the years pass.
I, personally, give it ’til about the first of the year before Barack Obama starts out on a major campaign against the “wreckers” and “saboteurs” who prevent him from achieving his Noble Goals. He and his sycophants have already started out in a small way, but for the moment the only villains they’ve identified are the “obstructionists” of the Republican-led House of Representatives and Republican Senators. It’s clear, though, that “obstructionism” isn’t sufficient to achieve the effects visible; thus the second step, “laziness”. Look for speeches vilifying “wreckers” and “saboteurs” starting in about January, if not a bit before. If you want to help Obama & Co. out, look up and translate some of Lenin’s speeches from the mid-Twenties. There’s plenty of material there that could go straight to the teleprompter without much more than substituting American idiom for Russian, and the original speeches were fairly effective; no reason to work at inventing something new. After all, that would be productive.
(Update: Reynolds reminds us that “hoarders” should be added to “wreckers” and “saboteurs”. )