[Paleopsych] the welfare state

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Sun Nov 28 23:51:49 UTC 2004

Very thoughtful comments. The key here is that welfare state politics is 
a long-term experiment, with some serious consequences if youth do lose 
the desire to work.  Like the cartoon about two scientists, one is 
saying, "It very well may produce immortality, but it will take forever 
to test it!"

Hannes Eisler wrote:

> Living in a welfare state myself I have a few comments.
> First, we have to distinguish different groups. One group consists of 
> people who cannot help themselves: mentally ill, retarded, alcoholics, 
> junkies, etc.
> To be brutal: I don't want to see them running around on the street 
> and perish.
> But also as a fellowman I want to help them, not privately but by 
> gladly paying taxes.
> Second: The welfare state's intention is to redistribute your (own) 
> income over your life cycle. An example: You get paid a certain amount 
> for every child (from your taxes) as long as children are dear (in 
> more than one meaning); when they are grown up and do not cost anymore 
> your taxes are considered a repayment. This is valid for all citizens, 
> though no personal humiliation. It works automatically.
> Sickness is something similar; you pay only a part of the costs of 
> visits to physicians and medicines. However, as a healthy individual 
> you can earn money and pay taxes, so the government (i.e., the 
> taxpayers) may make a profit.
> Finally there is a group whose income does not cover their living 
> expenses, or people who cannot handle money. Again, part of them may 
> have gotten into some kind of trouble, say having become a victim to a 
> fraud, and need some monetary help. For them there is another kind of 
> social welfare; they have to ask the pertinent authority in person 
> with all the entailing humiliation. But this is only a small part of 
> the Swedish welfare state.
> But there is some trouble ahead. Many young people (according to 
> interviews) don't place work as central in their lives as their 
> parents and grandparents did. And many people claim to be sick when 
> just feeling bad (not an outright cheat) which raises the amount of 
> costs to unbearable high levels.
> We shall see how the welfare state will develop. As yet cannot Sweden 
> be compared to the pre-Thatcher UK as Lynn Johnson described it.
> I may add: when I was about ten years old I thought it a shame to work 
> for money--note: not to work in itself, but to earn money for a living.

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