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Laziness is officially defined as a disinclination to do work despite having the ability to do so. It is most commonly used as a pejorative, though some see it in a positive light as an incentive to innovate in ways which reduce the need for labor (for an example of this, see Robert A. Heinlein's story "The Man Who Was Too Lasy to Fail").

In the context of politics, accusations of laziness are often used by supporters of the ruling classes as a way of demonizing the idea of reducing employment-dependence in the working classes. Proposals to increase or improve social safety-net programs are criticized as merely encouraging laziness, not to mention dependence on the state.