Re: Free-Markets: Extro-Nazi's or Extro-Saints?

Chris R. Tame (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 01:36:26 +0100

In message <>, writes
>In a message dated 97-09-10 22:02:49 EDT, you write:
>> So today's poor are richer than yesterday's poor. That's the point.
>That is still quite contradictory. The proper way to view this may be stated
>as: the standard of living has been raised. No one can convince me that the
>"poor" ( which in common semantics means a life without proper shelter,
>medical care and adequate food) give a damn if we chose to think of them as
>"richer" than the starving homeless who lived in medieval times. It will not
>make their lives any richer. Not only that- to use that line of thinking to
>ignore the truth of that reality, to NOT acknowledge their very real
>experience of starving to death, is denial of the worst sort, and IMO
>downright mean.
>One could also say stupid people of today are much smarter than the stupid
>people of yesterday. It is meaningless.
>Of course, people are far less ignorant today, but the knowledge required to
>live is much more complex, and specialized, so if people cannot raise their
>level of ignorance and stay just below the amount required to deal with this
>new and complex environment, they will still not be able to function very
>well. They will suffer from it. The bottom is still the bottom. Starving is
>still starving. Stupid is still stupid.
>....still full of love,
>Queen Nadi
> "The capacity to tolerate complexity and welcome contradiction, not the
>for simplicity and certainty, is the attribute of an explorer" Heinz R.
>Pagels, Perfect Symmetry
In fact the concept of "the poor" and of "poverty" as one of RELATIVE
deprivation is actually the most common one in mainstream sociology in
Britain (and I suspect in the USA too). Thus, the British sociological
and socialist establishments constantly berate relatively market
oriented societies for not having abolished poverty - simply by
constantly raising the "poverty threshold". What they are really
complaining about, of course, is the existence of inequality, but since
those who earn less in market-oriented socities are actually rich in
terms of all previously existing societies, and most existing ones
elsewhere in the contemporary world, they wish to add the opprobium of
"poverty" (with images of starvation etc) to their critique of

Market and libertarian scholars in the UK havev responded by stating
that this is nonsensical, and that "poverty" in its "derogatory" sense,
so to speak, should be defined in an "absolute sense", ie, in terms of
near starvation, absence of basic essentials etc. It is thus quite clear
that it is market oriented societies which have succeeded in largely
eradicating poverty. It is really downright mean, and totally foolish,
to deny the evidence of history and all rational social science - that
the road to prosperity and abundance is the road of market
relationships. In so far as those relationships are hampered or
destroyed by the state, or "private" coercion, livelihooDs and
prosperity will be harmed.

Market oriented societies (even a totally free market) can never, of
course, eradicate inequality - but then neither can any other form of
socio-political order. But inequality per se, contrary to socialist
egalitarians, is not unjust.

Chris R. Tame, Director                 
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