Jeffrey Haber haber at sb.fsu.edu
Tue May 19 16:20:21 EST 1998

David Allsopp wrote:
> In article <356038C9.41C6 at sb.fsu.edu>, Jeffrey Haber  <haber at sb.fsu.edu> wrote:

> >Why are you responsible for another person's poverty unless you've
> >advocated that someone be forcibly prevented from earning a living?  In
> >a free society, if you wanted to help someone who was impoverished, you
> >would not be stopped.
> How would you help all the impoverished people around you unless you
> were fabulously wealthy?  We are all responsible for each others'
> welfare in a civilised society, and therefore bear a small part of the
> responsibility if society allows people to fall into poverty.
> If there is widespread unemployment then society and the economy need
> to change. Individuals cannot solve the problem by employing
> all the jobless around them; they can't afford it!

You say that the individual should be his brothers' keeper, yet you
provide no justification.  Why is self sacrifice, altruism, a moral
ideal?  Good for whom?  The problem with that morality is that humans
exist as individual entities with their own individual consciousness,
that is to say that the proper standard of value is the life of the

I would help the impoverished by fighting, intellectually, to the extent
I desire to do so, for the establishment of a rational, free society, as
I am doing in this post.  Your question, however, is based on a false
premise--that the poor are helpless.  Individuals, poor, rich, or
otherwise have to choose to help themselves.  That they be free from the
initiation of physical force is a requirement, and the proper function
of the government.

What is your solution to the problem of widespread unemployment?  What
would you change the society and the economy to?  Socialism, citizen? 
Who is going to create the employment?  Who will build and maintain the
means of production, and why would they do it if they do not benefit
from it?  What if all the producers and innovators just disappered and
went on strike in protest of altruism?  (Actually, that is exactly what
happens, though most of those people are less ideological and conscious
about what they are doing.)

> >The kinds of economies you are referring to are not capitalist
> >economies, but mixed economies--mixtures of capitalist and socialist
> >elements, freedom and controls.  Under capitalaism the government's only
> >function is to protect individual rights, not to regulate the exchange
> >of value; there would be a separation of economy and state in the same
> >way and for the same reasons as a separation of church and state.
> How can you protect individual rights without regulating the economy to some
> extent?
> By your definition, I don't believe there are any capitalist economies,
> ie totally free markets, because they don't work.  Too many people suffer,
> together with destruction of the environment etc.

Very simply, the government would not regulate production and trade
unless it could be demonstrated that such violated or threatened the
rights of others--selling nuclear weapons to China, for example, or
dumping pollutants on someone else's property.  It would not be involved
in economic issues--such as setting prices, employment, etc.

	Jeffrey Haber

> David.
> --
> "It doesn't matter how fast your modem is if you're being shelled by
> ethnic seperatists."  - William Gibson

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