RE: 'capitalist' character values

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Jul 25 2001 - 01:59:08 MDT

Rafal Smigrodzki writes

> I agree.. that GI would most likely result in major economical
> problems. Also, the idea of giving money for nothing, of taxing
> the poor working people like me to feed the lazy, is rather
> upsetting, to say the least.

Well, yes, calculating all the unintended consequences of acts
imposed by fiat isn't easy. For a few people, this might tip
the balance about continuing to work.

> How about providing a guaranteed 1500 kcal of cheapest food/day,
> about 30sq.ft space in a shelter, and other necessities, no cash.
> This would assure that only those who really need help would
> take it (and only those who need it actually deserve it).

Yes, I had earlier proposed that government money now used for
even more onerous welfare schemes be reinvested in little rooms
in supermarkets, accessible from a back door, where people were
free to eat WWII C-rations, which aren't very delectable.

But let's take a skeptical position about your plan, and imagine
a bad side-effect. Every day there are poor people who face the
decision of whether or not to get serious and improve their lot.
I speak from experience. One day as a chess bum, part-time
substitute teacher, I had to finally after many years make the
very painful decision to abandon southern California, and move
as far away as was practicable and study computers (which I did
not like).

I think that there are many people who finally make a decision to
do something about their situation. It may mean going back to
their home town and working for that uncle that they detest. It
may mean moving to some other city to be free of their old gang,
and to get a fresh start. It may mean owning up to the fact that
they just aren't making it, and going to night school.

Everyone surely has to admit that for many people who are hovering
on the edge of hard choices, the advent of a GI would enable them
to keep postponing the taking of some difficult action. But likewise,
so would the proposal of 1500 calories of free food and free shelter,
no strings attached. Just so, all welfare that is *guaranteed* to
individuals has the same debilitating effect. All of it.

So what do I propose doing about those "who for one reason or
another, many through no real fault of their own, become
economically unviable (the market literally has no need for
their labor sufficient to pay them a livable wage?" (Thanks
to Samantha for the wording.) In another post, later.


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