Re: The Meta-Invisible Hand

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 23 Sep 1997 14:48:43 -0700 (PDT)

> Another idea is voluntary charity, but again no guarantee. If nobody wants to
> help the poor then they won't be helped, but I don't see how the IRS could do
> any better. If I don't want to voluntarily contribute why would I vote for a
> politician who makes me, and why would a politician who want's to stay in
> power make enemies of the rich and powerful and friends of the poor and
> powerless?

Friedman describes state vs. private charity this way: if the majority
favor feeding the hungry man, the politician will find it in his best
interest to do so--but in this case he is unnecesary. If the majority
are against the hungry man, some individual among the minority may feed
him anyway, but the politician will not--in this case he is detrimental
because he is still taking taxes from that minority.

Private charity offers no guarantees, but neither does state charity,
because /reality/ offers no guarantees. Those who desire to offer such
guarantees to the poor are worse than those who ignore them, because
they bring nothing but false hope and empty promises.

Even the most "greedy", "selfish" individuals (to use those terms as
the stereotypes used by the left) have reasons for helping the poor:
good P.R., eliminating the attendant nuisances, cheap unskilled labor
(for example, to advertise your religion), speculative investment in
human capital, crime reduction, etc. If you ask the average poor
person whether ey'd rather have a hot meal from a greedy capitalist
who's only giving it for eir image, or have a compassionate state tell
em how they feel his pain while ey starves, I think option 1 wins.