Clear and present dangers stop you from building capital. By definition, there isn’t “extra” if there isn’t enough.
One of the challenges for designers of Basic Incomes, or builders of Pension Funds, is when you should allow access to those funds. Should you be able to borrow money and agree to pay back, from your basic income? Should you be able to cash in retirement money to build an extension to your house or go on holiday?
Similarly, how do you build capital when everyone around you is living hand-to-mouth? Especially when the need is so raw and so clear. As South Africans, we wrestle with in-your-face inequality, but even though we keep inequality in country-shaped containers, I don’t think moving to another container absolves you of responsibility.
But what responsibility? How much should we just focus on the things we can control? The idea of being a “half-hearted fanatic”. You don’t want to be a martyr. It is a long-term game, and you can give more if you look after yourself too. You do need to be honest about what incentivizes you and keeps your energy up.
I don’t think you can live in isolation and only focus on your story. Our stories are intertwined. Gradually, my reading on “learning and happiness” shifted to learning more about Universal Basic Income. The idea that everybody should get a regular income as a base from which to work.