RE: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Sun Jul 22 2001 - 05:44:47 MDT

I wrote:

> Not only does it waste resources, it's also not the sort of situation I'd
> want to live in, since I have no way of knowing for sure that I, or
> I love, won't need help someday.

Lee Corbin wrote:

>Why do you think that you need a government guarantee? Why are
>your own means, your own insurance policies, and the resources
>of those who love you not enough?

Sometimes a person can have a run of bad luck (such as being born to a poor
parent who can't take proper care of herself, let alone a child; or such as
developing a chronic illness that isn't completely covered by insurance),
and there's no one around to help. I could give a number of examples, but
it's difficult to believe you've lived such a sheltered life that you
wouldn't realize that sometimes people simply don't have enough resources.

>True, there is no absolute
>guarantee, but there is seldom any absolute guarantee in this
>veil of tears.

That's right, but I like the idea of minimizing suffering where possible. I
don't consider suffering particularly beautiful or noble. I've been through
enough of it personally to know that it sucks. (I've never had any
government help, but there have been times when I would have been most
grateful for a minimum guaranteed income)

IF we had only natural selection to count on for improving the species, then
I could see a reason for letting the less able people die off. But this is
not the case.

Of course, the situation isn't as simple as it might sound when people sit
around talking about it. There are, for example, tragedies that result from
good hearted attempts to help, such as where food aid is given to hungry
people who then produce more children (starving people, after all, don't
produce live infants) and the end result is several times more starving
people than there were originally. I believe that a guaranteed minimum
income would require legal limits on reproduction. But theoretically, yes,
I'd like to live in a world where every person was guaranteed basic food,
shelter, and medical care.


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