Heinrich Boell wrote a short story on the loss of a work ethic. It espouses the same negative relationship to wealth that killed Christopher McCandless in IntoTheWild.
The story is set in an unnamed harbor on the west coast of Europe. A smartly-dressed enterprising tourist is taking photographs when he notices a shabbily dressed local fisherman taking a nap in his fishing boat. The tourist is disappointed with the fisherman's apparently lazy attitude towards his work, so he approaches the fisherman and asks him why he is lying around instead of catching fish. The fisherman explains that he went fishing in the morning, and the small catch would be sufficient for the next two days.
The tourist tells him that if he goes out to catch fish multiple times a day, he would be able to buy a motor in less than a year, a second boat in less than two years, and so on. The tourist further explains that one day, the fisherman could even build a small cold storage plant, later a pickling factory, fly around in a helicopter, build a fish restaurant, and export lobster directly to Paris without a middleman.
The nonchalant fisherman asks, "Then what?"
The tourist enthusiastically continues, "Then, without a care in the world, you could sit here in the harbor, doze in the sun, and look at the glorious sea."
"But I'm already doing that", says the fisherman.
The enlightened tourist walks away pensively, with no trace of pity for the fisherman, only a little envy.
The big question is not enjoyability of life, were you in the shoes of the fisherman. Rather, put yourself in the shoes of the tourist: what happens to you when the fisherman gets sick for a week and can't feed his family? In general, do you benefit when the fisherman (and other people) insure against operational risk by saving? Does such a thing as too much or too little insurance exist?
With no insurance; should anything bad happen to him or his family, he'll have to ask his extended family and friends for help. To avoid too little insurance, does society provide the minimum level? Does this prodigal fisherman leech off of the supposedly prudent tourist?
On the other hand, does too much insurance cause problems? When everyone else saves (by building things up), does this development injure the fisherman? Will his livelihood survive when overfishing crashes the fish supply?
To what extent are we all working or relaxing blissfully unaware of the Commons that we are fishing?