Re: PHIL: The (im)moral state

Arjen Kamphuis (
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 15:22:23 +0100 (CET)

At 16:27 24-03-98 -0500 Dan Fabulich <> wrote:
>>That was my point, if you want to state that welfare-systens are always bad
>>for an economy, prove it. But make sure you got your facts straight.
>Government spending, as you'll find in any macroeconomics textbook, raises
>the interest rate, which results in decreased private investment. As
>investment decreases, long term growth decreases.

As stated before, I'm not an economist, but I wonder if growth solely
related to private investments? Or is the businees 'environment' also a
factor? The educational level of employees, infrastructure, strikes (or
lack thereof). All these have no influance?

I think having some sort of 'support system' increases the stability of a
society because there's no 'underclass' that has nothing to lose.

>As a result of this decreased long term growth, the welfare of the poor
>might look something like this:

//Snipped a good explaniation//

>Welfare is good for the poor in the short run, it is bad for everyone in
>the long run. Abandoning welfare is quite bad for the poor in the short
>run, but good for everyone in the long run.

OK, I can find no principal argument against that.

Then the problem becomes to quantify 'good-in-the-short-run' and
'bad-in-the-long-run'. Is the technical/economic progress gained in 5,10 or
50 years from now worth abandoning welfare now and letting a part of the
population slide down to extreme poverty, disease (or maybe starvation)?

Can we attach numbers to these values somehow? So how much technical
progress is a human life or human suffering worth these days?

Dan, I think you have cut to the core of the discussion, thanks.


Arjen Kamphuis | "Here Be Dragons", read the ancient maps | in all the white spots that seemed large
enough to hold the fabled creatures.

let's go dragon hunting.

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