On Thu, 29 Jun 2000, Waldemar Ingdahl wrote:
> In the welfare state
> you don't have the economic resources to be innovative, people in the
> welfare states are poor- the government is rich.
This is a lucid and concise expression of the problem with welfare states
with respect to transhumanism in general.
Most innovation in the world is driven by self-interest, whether it is a
profit motive or simply curiousity and knowledge-seeking as its own
reward. All these activities that lead to innovation require an
investment by the individual, be it time, money, or some other form of
investment. Most innovation is done either by wealthy individuals, who
have the option of pursuing their interest at their leisure, or
individuals who are supported by wealthy entities expressly for the
purpose of pursuing interests that may not be economically productive.
Unfortunately, welfare states make it difficult to become wealthy. Wealth
is built on investments of time and money, and often works best when such
investments are frontloaded. If most of the money Americans spent on
taxes was invested instead, the average American would be a millionaire by
the time they were 40. Most people would become permanently
self-supporting, rather than the small number that manages now. This is
what bothers me most. The most productive and innovative individuals in a
society waste a large percentage of their resources supporting the
non-productive, with the net effect of not allowing the productive
individuals to accumulate enough resources to *really* do something
useful. Instead, all the productive people are forced to invest their
time and money towards worthless ends. Additionally, most people could
afford to become benefactors if their weren't taxed so severely in the
Among my objections to government welfare is the enormous amount of waste
involved. I decided to look up the relevant US figures for 1990 (a year
with readily available stats), and the figures are disturbing. The amount
spent per recipient was almost *twice* the income poverty line. We could
save 100 billion dollars just by cutting every recipient a check equal
to the official poverty line.
I think far more people would be helped if we just abolished the thing and
gave people the means to help each other. It would also give people the
choice between giving money to a needy person/deadbeat/etc. and investing
the same money in ventures that will have a more beneficial impact.
Another statistic that should bother the more-or-less pro-welfare crowd:
Over the long-term in the US, as the amount spent per person on welfare has
increased, the number of eligible recipients also has increased.
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