RE: The Education Function

Billy Brown (
Fri, 11 Dec 1998 11:06:17 -0600

> In a pure capiutalist society she would have starved to death by now.

I think this illustrates a common cause of misunderstandings in this kind of debate. In a 17th, or 18th, or even 19th century capitalist state she would have starved to death, because society was so poor that charitable institutions (funded through voluntary donations) did not have the reasources to provide the needy with even the most basic assistance. But the wealth of a society increases with advances in technology.

In a 20th century capitalist state the class of truly poor people (as opposed to the "I'm poor because I can't afford a 20" TV" types) is much smaller, and the class of people who donate to private charities is much larger. Consequently, private charity would be sufficient to ensure that no one starves on the streets. Of course, that still doesn't cover medical care, education, or other basic expenses.

In the 21st century the wealth of society as a whole will rapidly grow to the point where private charities can provide all of these basic services to those who have no money. By the time we have even moderately advanced nanotech, providing a 20th century standard of living to those who can't support themselves will be a trivial expense. At this point the main rational for a welfare state will completely cease to exist.

Billy Brown