[ExI] Friedman and negative income tax

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri May 8 04:04:43 UTC 2009

Rafal wrote:

 > Stathis wrote:
 >> Dan wrote:
 >>> For almost all of my childhood, I lived in
 >>> poor neighborhoods around the US. And by poor,
 >>> I mean many if not most people were on some
 >>> form of public assistance.
 >> And it would have been better if they had been
 >> allowed to starve, denied education and health
 >> care etc.?
 > ### Yes. They would be a lesson to others. Work hard, don't do drugs,
 > keep your nose clean, and you'll make it. Screw up, over and over and
 > over again, and, well, screw you.

So often we wonder, "How did we get into this
mess?", or "What is the cause of poverty?", or
"why can't third world nations overcome their
problems?", and so on.

We too seldom inquire as to "how did anyone
become wealthy in the first place?". "How
did any society succeed to the point that
we have something against which to compare
so-called failed societies?"

Stathis did write

 >> And it would have been better if they had been
 >> allowed to starve, denied education and health
 >> care etc.?

Remember that this is what happened originally.
This was the natural state. This is the default
condition. We must focus on how any society rose
above this default condition, and what makes it
possible for any society to do so.

The culture had to become "strong" enough so
that a sufficient number of people chose to
behave differently. This was accomplished,
historically, in precisely the way that Rafal
indicates, namely by those who failed to adhere
to high standards becoming examples of what
not to do. This is how probity evolved.

When you loosen these conditions, things pretty
quickly go back to the default state. And
unfortunately, it seems the object of most of
the world's governments to accomplish precisely
this, along with a lot of shortsighted people
seemingly unaware of the crucial role played
by incentive.

That the governments wish to do this falls out
naturally from their desire to achieve more
power (a government being a collection of
abnormally ambitious human beings). That many
people do not seem to understand or appreciate
that lax conditions breed irresponsibility is
the mystery to me.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list