Monday, 23 January 2017

Misinterpreting the Robin Hood Concept



When we were kids, we were all told the story of Robin Hood. He was portrayed as the saviour of the poor. The stole from the rich and gave it to the poor. The rich used to be afraid of him and tried to protect their gold from him but could not. He was a hero.

Well, he IS a hero. I agree.

"Its not stealing if you steal a little from the people who have a lot and give it all away to the people who don't have much." - A friend.

Well, there is one major element in the above concept that people always tend to forget. The rich people that Robin Hood used to steal from had acquired their wealth through illegal means. They had exploited the poor and filled their coffers. Robin Hood just helped the poor people get money which belonged to them in the first place.

So, essentially Robin Hood did not actually redistribute wealth. He just saw to it that the rightful owner got it.

So, Robin Hood cannot be used as a defense when you want steal money from the rich and give it to the poor when the rich guy has actually earned it legally.

We might say that stealing money from a thief is justified but just because a person has a lot of money doesn't make him a thief. Nor does it create an obligation on him to share the money with people who don't have it. He earned it. It's his right. He can burn it all up for all we care. No Robin Hood can take it away from him and claim to do the society a favour.

If there is a politician in your country who has hoarded a lot of illegal wealth and stashed them at a Swiss Bank Account and if you somehow manage to steal it, then you can feel like Robin Hood.

But if you steal from say a Tata or a Birla, who have slogged their way to success and then try to act like Robin Hood then you are just another petty thug in tights.

So, the next time you tell kids the Robin Hood story, explain the 'people who got rich through illegal means' part carefully. :)

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