I wish to examine the impact of a sense of uncertainty on the need to save for the unknown future.
Uncertainty, in the sense I am trying to use the term, is a situation where the likelihood of the future is simply unknown. I would think it to be a zero or one probability situation - either it happens or it does not happen - binary - digital - I Ching - zen. Uncertainty is the stark situation faced by each and every individual as he or she confronts the world. You do not know what will happen. So, what do you do when you are faced with uncertainty?
To reduce the uncertainty, you train yourself up to maximum your opportunity. This in fact is the only thing that a person can do, seriously for himself. This is making the best use of the talents that God has given you, in religious parlance. This is to know what you are, to know what you can do. In Greek philosophy, "know thyself" is the most well-known saying of Delphi. In philosophy, the most basic question is you do not know when you are going to die, and this determines how you are going to live. If you know exacting when you are going to live, you can very specific plans about what you are going to do. (Same as contemplating whether to tell a cancer patient the "truth" or to pretend that everything is going to be OK.) If you leave the future indeterminate, then you will have to make plentiful of preparations which are likely to be overdone, more than sufficient, because you do not want to be caught short. A person caught with an uncertain future but with the greatest confidence in himself or herself will do the maximum by working ceaselessly so as not to waste time and be caught idling. If this uncertainty affects a whole society, then such behaviour will be exhibited as a social cultural trait. There is this constant struggle to do one's best and to continue to work and to do so that there will be no let up in efforts. Life because one of the amassing of natural energy and to dispense that energy to its most fruitful or effective impact. Kung fu, Shaolin, Bruce Lee. In the same way that life force is seen to be the most fundamental element of life, so some (or rather many) will see, in modern society, that money and wealth is the most fundamental element of living in the material world. The accumulation of capital and the store of value become the sole quest in life for those who are psyched to vow never to be poor again, like how their immediate forebears were.
But for a community where the recent history or social culture is one which has established a certain amount of stability, the tendency of such a community is to maintain the status quo. A hierarchy is set so that no one upsets the apple cart and everybody has their proper station in life according to recent history. The political power structure takes over to control the situation. There is nothing much an individual person can do except to fight to get on top of the heap, as Frank Sinatra would say. Once on top, all favours drips down to the very bottom so that everyone in society can benefit. Such benefits will dispensed onto to those who are obedient or in the terms of that ideology, loyalty. Loyalty is a term that is used to reinforce the strengthen of the status quo and the prevailing hierarchy. Once that power structure is established, everything else can be accommodated within that structure, including the hiring of talents and skills. In such a community, there is readiness to sacrifice growth for distribution in order that the apple cart is not upset. But when that power structure, or any power structure, breaks down, the aftermath can be very messy, as we seen on TV. But because the emphasis here is less on maximising talents but in strengthening the political power, there is a tendency to take from the output of the productive or talented to share with the rest of the entourage or retinue of advisers, bodyguards, foot soldiers and servants. This gives rise to a disincentive to work and there will be a tendency to downplay signs of prosperity by the likely victims.
It is interesting to realise that the flavour of the type of community or social we try to create has a profound impact on our daily behaviour as we are tend to act in such a way as to make ourself comfortable or justifiable or at peace with ourselves. In realising our sense of being, as broadly dictated by the general environment we find ourselves which of course are all in turn influenced by public policies and private treaties and communal habits, we find ourselves living particular lives according to our immediate circumstances. We are not really our self-determined selves as we wish to imagine, but justified selves in the face of the circumstance.
This is a obtuse a piece I can muster to write.