Re: Beggars in Spain

Jeff Bone (
Wed, 07 Jul 1999 21:25:35 -0500

Ian sez...

> Unless you like breathing coal fumes and digging pipeline trenches I
> suggest you continue to pay your income taxes. :)

Ahem. Ian, pardon me for being blunt, but what a crock. I absolutely
don't see how you get from "A" to "B."

Society is, at its most fundamental level, about contracts --- that is,
mutual, consensual exchange of value. People involved in resource
extraction and manufacturing do so because it is economically
advantageous for them to do so; indeed, they do it because it is the
*most* economically advantageous position they can take / that is
available to them; otherwise, clearly, they would do something else.
Nobody is "forced" into any relationship --- the OPEC members sell what
they have (fossil fuels) in order to obtain what others have (liquid
assets, technology, services) that they do not. Nobody is victimized in
this exchange.

I just don't follow your chain of reasoning here at all. The economic
pyramid = metaphor for industrial revolution = need for social reform,
etc. equation just doesn't balance, amigo. Sure, there's an economic
pyramid. Sure, over time "value creation" becomes ever more abstract.
Sure, historically, there are social changes that correlate with changes
in macroeconomics --- but that doesn't necessarily imply a causal
relationship. And I think that historically many of the massive social
changes correlated with the industrial revolution (for example unions)
have proved of dubious social benefit.

Also, it's not clear to me that the programs you mention --- for
instance, UNICEF --- have ever really had any social impact in any part
of the world that was of any economic consequence whatsoever.

So that leads me right back to my question. Why should we fund social
programs, domestic or international? Why can't we rely on a purely free
market to govern relationships between people, groups of people,
companies, and countries?