....I must insist that your idea of charity is quite narrow as I’m not specifically interested in charity. Indeed, I think charity is pretty much bad news, especially when people think charity should play some part of our efforts to build a better world. If people’s health and lives fall into the realm of charity (for any reason), we have all failed. Our thoughts on the matter are very different, and it makes conveying my opinion more tricky, but the basic difference is that you think welfare and Medicaid violate your right to property. I have great respect for the right to property, wealth, and I will agree that taxation is a serious affair. If you consider any element of public government as legitimate, public works that ensure access to water/roads etc, then you should also consider the legitimacy of baseline human life support. It doesn’t even have to be high quality welfare, it should be a safety net, but a good net, so even if you’re injured and become a total charity case for the rest of your life, you shouldn’t be consigned to homelessness and starvation (you think you’re going to retire your crippled ass on saved assets – but you’ve just been successfully sued for all your worth in your accident with a school bus-or your trust was defrauded or whatever). Then what?
The reason there are not more farmers is technology. Diverse human industry is now possible because we built better tech to make sure we didn’t go hungry. Money did not help us leave the farm. The purpose of money was to help us meter labor and raw materials. You didn’t just “add capital to labor” and come up with less labor needed to maintain sustenance. I’m using ‘leaving the farm’ as an analogy with rickshaws being replaced by cars because it describes how my great grandparents switched from farming to carpentry and other professions. Anyway, with baselines needs covered, we all have more time and energy to invest in diverse specializations. We shouldn’t forget that the only reason we’re free to study art or science or anything else is that we don’t have to spend the time trying to grow food. How meaningless is it for the waitress who wants to be an artist to spend her life carrying food around? I realize that we are still quite a ways from humanoid robot servants, and a time when human servants are only used for the prestige factor – that would make the analogy a lot more obvious, but my point is that we could at least try to replace more man hours with automated systems and free as many man hours as we can – robot manufacturing, automated food/prep, any other service you can think of – invest in automation – concrete printers for buildings – definitely! We should be ashamed when our bag of frozen greenbeans advertises ‘hand-picked an trimmed’ ….really? Anyway, that hypothetical artist is covered by our welfare system – and then has the chance to develop her art – she may have never succeeded in impressing anyone else, but she didn’t have to trim greenbeans or carry food trays. Our decisions to design automated systems are balanced against cheap labor to enhance profits (and or prestige of having a human work for us) and it doesn’t have to be like that. That’s what I mean when I say we haven’t invested enough in helping reduce the work-week hours or ensure that government housing and food stuffs are so meaninglessly cheap that starving to death isn’t the default result of failing at resource management.
Any specific concerns with the federal government, and especially the handling of money has been corrupted inside and out. When Jackson won the presidency, he fired 20% of all government employees – anyone affiliated with the Second Bank of the United States – for bribes and corruption and crony capitalism. We have these types of needs again, but I don’t think the system is fundamentally flawed.
Lastly, I’m a recently joined ‘true fan’ of these guys - http://opensourceecology.org/ It’s a kind of charity I wish more people would support – where downloading the GVCS will solve a lot more problems than ships full of charity grain bags.