Basic income (Unconditional cash) to poor people showed big results

AlignAlign Remain CalmForum Moderators, Constellation Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,207 mod
edited April 2014 in Discussions
This is years old, but just recently saw it in a local paper.
http://www.bignam.org/BIG_pilot.html
Basically, in a town of about 1000 people, they unconditionally handed out ~$15 to everyone, and things improved dramatically.
Also, it failed to result in laziness and mass alcoholism as opponents had expected.

You guys think it would work for everyone?
Post edited by Align on
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  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Posts: 4,983 mod
    edited March 2013
    Yes, but you're going to get more freeloading with larger groups of people. I think many forgot that people work for more reasons than just money. This is why I like charities such as GiveDirectly.

    Direct cash grants have regularly proven the best anti-poverty method, but are typically not done because some money will inevitably go to those considered 'undeserving'.
  • CabooseCaboose title = name(self, handle) Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-02-15 Member: 13597Posts: 4,708 Advanced user
    edited March 2013
    ScardyBob wrote: »
    Yes, but you're going to get more freeloading with larger groups of people. I think many forgot that people work for more reasons than just money. This is why I like charities such as GiveDirectly.

    Direct cash grants have regularly proven the best anti-poverty method, but are typically not done because some money will inevitably go to those considered 'undeserving'.

    Who decides what 'undeserving' is? Also, what proportion of 'some' is significant enough to deny the majority?
    AurOn2
  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Posts: 4,983 mod
    Caboose wrote: »
    Who decides what 'undeserving' is? Also, what proportion of 'some' is significant enough to deny the majority?
    I put it in quotes because its different for each person. Sadly, there seems to be enough people who are concerned about it to prevent it from happening.
  • ellnicellnic Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2010-07-19 Member: 72559Posts: 915 Advanced user
    Minimum wage need to be higher in all fairness.
    Faulty
  • Racer1Racer1 Members Join Date: 2002-11-22 Member: 9615Posts: 1,595 Advanced user
    All residents below the age of 60 years receive a Basic Income Grant of N$100 per person per month, without any conditions being attached
    This is the equivalent of USD$11 a month, but their cost of living is much lower than the US.
    Namibia Cost of Living
  • CabooseCaboose title = name(self, handle) Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-02-15 Member: 13597Posts: 4,708 Advanced user
    edited March 2013
    I've never understood the notion of punishing many for the deeds of a few, except in small groups where unit cohesion is important, such as the military in basic training.

    Also, why, given these results, with this sample, can you (or the large chunk of people who feel that aiding the poor will lead to negative results [not saying that's you]) come up with the generalized statement that there will be more freeloading if you were to offer people this sort of help?

    Or why a large body of people assume that the majority people who use programs such as welfare (I know the BIG is different, but you used the same terminology [freeloading] as the folks in my example) are lazy, good for nothing, moochers who have never worked for anything, ever, and if offered financial help assume it will be squandered somehow.

    I'm doubly perplexed because most of the people who feel this way in my locale (Colorado), that I have talked to about this (fairly small sample, I know), don't personally know any such people, yet are perfectly comfortable making blanket statements like about them.
    Faulty
  • FrothybeverageFrothybeverage Members Join Date: 2003-02-15 Member: 13593Posts: 848
    ellnic wrote: »
    Minimum wage need to be higher in all fairness.

    I agree, but the problem is that with increases to minimum wage cause a direct increase to prices you see at the store.
  • CabooseCaboose title = name(self, handle) Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-02-15 Member: 13597Posts: 4,708 Advanced user
    edited March 2013
    ellnic wrote: »
    Minimum wage need to be higher in all fairness.

    I agree, but the problem is that with increases to minimum wage cause a direct increase to prices you see at the store.

    Or, the corporate bourgeois can take a cut in their profits, they'll survive. And still live like royalty.

    Also, we joined the same day.
    Faulty
  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Posts: 4,983 mod
    Caboose wrote: »
    I've never understood the notion of punishing many for the deeds of a few, except in small groups where unit cohesion is important, such as the military in basic training.

    Also, why, given these results, with this sample, can you (or the large chunk of people who feel that aiding the poor will lead to negative results [not saying that's you]) come up with the generalized statement that there will be more freeloading if you were to offer people this sort of help?

    Or why a large body of people assume that the majority people who use programs such as welfare (I know the BIG is different, but you used the same terminology [freeloading] as the folks in my example) are lazy, good for nothing, moochers who have never worked for anything, ever, and if offered financial help assume it will be squandered somehow.

    I'm doubly perplexed because most of the people who feel this way in my locale (Colorado), that I have talked to about this (fairly small sample, I know), don't personally know any such people, yet are perfectly comfortable making blanket statements like about them.

    From the Presidential candidate of a major US political party:
    http://youtu.be/M2gvY2wqI7M

    I agree its stupid, but its the reason why guaranteed minimum income programs usually don't get implemented on a large scale. The fear that someone, somewhere might be getting a benefit they don't "deserve" paralyzes these type of collective action policies.
  • RobRob Unknown Enemy Members, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 25Posts: 2,604 Advanced user
    Caboose wrote: »
    ellnic wrote: »
    Minimum wage need to be higher in all fairness.

    I agree, but the problem is that with increases to minimum wage cause a direct increase to prices you see at the store.

    Or, the corporate bourgeois can take a cut in their profits, they'll survive. And still live like royalty.

    Also, we joined the same day.

    You can't rail against making blanket statements and then make one yourself. Sticking it to the bourgeois is a vaporware goal. I won't deny such people exist, but this statement is dismissive and makes two critical assumptions that I don't think you've fully explored:

    1) Do they make enough that they can supply the necessary funds for those who really need it?
    2) Are any of your measures going to actually work on so callous and efficiently selfish a person?

    There are two people primarily hurt by minimum wage, small business owner-operators and low wage earning workers. This is because you have artificially mandated a higher cost of labor, and small business owners already operate at the margin. They cannot raise prices high enough to cover the cost if the market won't allow it. The only options are to close or reduce labor costs in other ways by working the laws any way they can. Ultimately, that results in people not being able to find work.

    A much better way to legislate basic income is negative income tax (wikipedia). Normally, when you work, taxes are taken from your wage automatically each pay check. Under negative income tax, you are instead paid extra for the difference between your working wage and whatever has been legislated as "minimum livable wage." This money comes from local, state, and federal governments instead of the business. This has the important consequence that the business can now buy labor at the price the labor is actually worth, instead of what they are mandated to. You can work a $0.50/hour job cracking walnuts for the bourgeois who use you as a footstool while smoking a cigars and still bring home $40,000 a year. To make the people worried about freeloading happy, you have to work doing something, anything, before you get the aid.
    -Rob
  • Rich_Rich_ Members Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167152Posts: 224
    that was in nambia. They cant afford food in nambia. Of course things got better. As a whole, the only solid contribution i saw in the report is people bought livestock, like chickens, which if you raise them you can grow more and more chickens if u incubate the eggs. It then went on to say somehow 15 dollars helped HIV positive people because they were able to get healthy food and transportation to treatments. This threw up a red flag. 15$ =/= a lot of healthy food. 15$ also does not =/= a lot of public transportation. In the next sentence it clarifies the government actually funded transportation and new medications and facilities, this is separate from the 15$ program. Red flag confirmed. It did reduce crime, because starving people who are desperate and dying will in fact kill or rob you for your food, those people got to buy chickens with their 15$.
    My thoughts:
    Will this work everywhere? No.
    Did it help as much as the organization Bignam wants you to think? No.
    Do they exagerate the effects? Yes.
    Was it a good thing none-the-less, and did it help? Yes.
    Will it work in somollia? No.
    Did it work in nambia? yes.
  • AurOn2AurOn2 COOKIES! FREEDOM, AND BISCUITS! AustraliaMembers, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Forum staff Join Date: 2012-01-13 Member: 140224Posts: 2,130 mod
    we do things like this in australia, it doesn't result in becomming beer money. or at least, most cases.
    Send me a private message if you need me to kill someone "help" with anything.

    The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.” - George Carlin.

    Youtube Channel for Sydney Music
    Faulty
  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Forum Moderators, Constellation Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,207 mod
    That's good!

    But, what does it result in?
  • SquishpokePOOPFACESquishpokePOOPFACE -21,248 posts (ignore below)Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2012-10-31 Member: 165262Posts: 1,669 Advanced user
    I can attest in Alaska that getting free money is positively received (Permanent Fund Dividend).

    Going off what I've seen, it's mostly spent on:

    1) Oil/Heating bill
    2) A new electronic device (Iphone/TV)
    3) Alcohol
    4) More alcohol
    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to play Natural Selection 2. The gameplay is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of military strategy and advanced mathematics you won't even win a single game. Theres also the game's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into the game. The maps and artwork draw heavily from Riddley Scott's Alien franchise, for instance. The players understand this stuff, they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depth of the game, to realise that it's not just great, that it also says something about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Natural Selection 2 truly ARE idiots. of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in the Marines' existential catchphrase "how do I get to be so good", which itself is a cryptic reference to the high degree of intelligence required to play the game as intended. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion when spectating a game. What fools... how I pity them. And, yes, by the way, i DO have a Fade tatoo. And no, you cannot see it. it's for the ladies' eyes only, and even then they have to demonstrate that they are within 50 hive skill points of my own (preferable lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid.
  • ezekelezekel Members, NS2 Map Tester Join Date: 2012-11-29 Member: 173589Posts: 1,385 Advanced user
    edited March 2013
    I'm all for the minimum wage increase, BUT I feel as a direct result; prices of everything will go up.. changing pretty much nothing besides hurting those with regular stable income
    BeigeAlert
  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Forum Moderators, Constellation Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,207 mod
    And helping those that had no income previously...
    DerAndereFaulty
  • RobRob Unknown Enemy Members, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 25Posts: 2,604 Advanced user
    There's a difference between a wage and stipend. A wage is part of a contractual transaction, a stipend is a gift. Market forces do not concern themselves with gifts, but they very much concern themselves with wages. Therefore, you will certainly see different consequences to indiscriminately gifting a small amount of money to people versus legislating a floor for the cost of labor. This has consequences for the human condition as well: are you more likely to be upset if your peer gets more money per hour for the same job as you, or that your peer won the lunch raffle and got a cash card?
    -Rob
  • ZEROibisZEROibis Members, Constellation Join Date: 2009-10-30 Member: 69176Posts: 1,017 Advanced user
    Lets have the economists handle this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rls8H6MktrA
    image
    Server IP: NS2.IBISGaming.com
    Server IP: NS2CO.IBISGaming.com
    RobMinimumJiriki
  • DerAndereDerAndere Members Join Date: 2010-12-21 Member: 75815Posts: 8
    This is exciting. A thread about unconditional income on the UWE forums. It must be true then: NS players form one of the best communities around ;)

    In Germany every party has proponents of an unconditional income (although the discussion is kinda on hold for now due to the €-crisis). One major proponent is the owner of a chain of drugstores that are quite successful, so they can't dismiss this easily as a thing only lazy people would speak for.

    I had some good fun by simply asking people: "Would you still go to work if you got €800 just for being a citizen?". Everybody's answer was "yes, of course. You need to do SOMETHING!". When asked if an unconditional income could function people would answer "no" because they seem to assume everybody else is lazy.

    Then there was this one guy who said no...

    Would it work? "Of course! People are dying to work. They need a boss. They don't want to decide for themselves. They become depressed if they have too much time to think about life"

    I tend to agree with him. So obviously people are working with numerous assumptions about "others" that are, to say the least, unproven.

    I think it basically avoids the old conflict between "labour" and "capital". You want to accumulate as much money as you can? Go ahead! You are free to do so, but you will have to provide a good job. And the more displeasing a job is, the more you will have to spend to convince somebody to work for you. That's a good thing if you ask me!
    Nothing says 'I love you' like purchasing NS2 for a friend !
    Faulty
  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Posts: 4,983 mod
    ezekel wrote: »
    I'm all for the minimum wage increase, BUT I feel as a direct result; prices of everything will go up.. changing pretty much nothing besides hurting those with regular stable income
    Not really a concern unless you propose increasing the minimum wage by a huge amount (think setting it to $100/hr rather than the $7.25 it is currently in the U.S.).
    Faulty
  • RobRob Unknown Enemy Members, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 25Posts: 2,604 Advanced user
    ScardyBob wrote: »
    ezekel wrote: »
    I'm all for the minimum wage increase, BUT I feel as a direct result; prices of everything will go up.. changing pretty much nothing besides hurting those with regular stable income
    Not really a concern unless you propose increasing the minimum wage by a huge amount (think setting it to $100/hr rather than the $7.25 it is currently in the U.S.).

    It certainly is a concern, no matter how little the increase. See this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct1Moeaa-W8&list=PLCCD88F93892BEBDD&index=6

    Minimum wage forces business to pass any cost over the actual market cost of the labor to the consumer. That directly increases the cost of the good or service you are buying.
    -Rob
  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Posts: 4,983 mod
    Rob wrote: »
    It certainly is a concern, no matter how little the increase. See this video:

    Minimum wage forces business to pass any cost over the actual market cost of the labor to the consumer. That directly increases the cost of the good or service you are buying.
    Here's a nice report titled "Why does the minimum wage have no discernable effect on employment?" Here is the executive summary for those not wanting to read the report:
    The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.

    The report reviews evidence on eleven possible adjustments to minimum-wage increases that may help to explain why the measured employment effects are so consistently small. The strongest evidence suggests that the most important channels of adjustment are: reductions in labor turnover; improvements in organizational efficiency; reductions in wages of higher earners ("wage compression"); and small price increases.

    Given the relatively small cost to employers of modest increases in the minimum wage, these adjustment mechanisms appear to be more than sufficient to avoid employment losses, even for employers with a large share of low-wage workers.

    Also, that YouTube channel looks mostly like a collection of conservative economic tropes. I think this one quite nicely sums up the 'quality' of the channel:
    http://youtu.be/NxBzKkWo0mo
    FaultySoylent_green
  • tortoiserodenttortoiserodent Members Join Date: 2013-04-03 Member: 184634Posts: 11
    Align wrote: »
    This is years old, but just recently saw it in a local paper.
    http://www.bignam.org/BIG_pilot.html
    Basically, in a town of about 1000 people, they unconditionally handed out ~$15 to everyone, and things improved dramatically.
    Also, it failed to result in laziness and mass alcoholism as opponents had expected.

    You guys think it would work for everyone?

    have they done a double blind study on this?
  • ZEROibisZEROibis Members, Constellation Join Date: 2009-10-30 Member: 69176Posts: 1,017 Advanced user
    Well the real issue there is that giving out 15$ to 1k people is not going to cause inflation. Doing this on a large scale would. Look at the inflation we already have with what the gov is doing now...

    On minimum wage I think this sums up the issue nicely:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca8Z__o52sk
    image
    Server IP: NS2.IBISGaming.com
    Server IP: NS2CO.IBISGaming.com
    Minimum
  • RobRob Unknown Enemy Members, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 25Posts: 2,604 Advanced user
    edited April 2013
    ScardyBob wrote: »
    Rob wrote: »
    It certainly is a concern, no matter how little the increase. See this video:

    Minimum wage forces business to pass any cost over the actual market cost of the labor to the consumer. That directly increases the cost of the good or service you are buying.
    Here's a nice report titled "Why does the minimum wage have no discernable effect on employment?" Here is the executive summary for those not wanting to read the report:
    The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.

    The report reviews evidence on eleven possible adjustments to minimum-wage increases that may help to explain why the measured employment effects are so consistently small. The strongest evidence suggests that the most important channels of adjustment are: reductions in labor turnover; improvements in organizational efficiency; reductions in wages of higher earners ("wage compression"); and small price increases.

    Given the relatively small cost to employers of modest increases in the minimum wage, these adjustment mechanisms appear to be more than sufficient to avoid employment losses, even for employers with a large share of low-wage workers.

    Also, that YouTube channel looks mostly like a collection of conservative economic tropes. I think this one quite nicely sums up the 'quality' of the channel:

    It's not a conservative trope channel, it's a collection of videos explaining classical liberalism (wiki). The video only explored one aspect of the minimum wage argument. Your link only explores another. If you raised the minimum wage and it had no effect on the employability of workers, you expect employment to increase, not stay the same.

    Classical liberalism attempts to solve social problems from the bottom up while others would rather start with the all the data and try to work back toward some guiding truths. The problem we have with this method is that the world is complex. The best thinkers alive can only hold a handful of axioms in their head at any given time to use in problem solving. Think of these as black boxes. This is how we successively build a logical argument, by examining known black boxes and their interactions, convincing ourselves we haven't missed any outliers (those are called bugs in software :P), and then declaring the total interaction a new black box with well defined inputs and outputs. This black box can be placed into the next most complicated problem.

    We work from the theory that the correctness of decisions at the complex end is directly proportional to the soundness of assumptions made at the simple end. Which is why we spend so much time arguing over simple toy problems like how much a burger costs.

    In that light, back to your link. Models of employment make many assumptions, like every other model has to. One is how to deal with labor supply. That is, the number of people that are willing to work. The assumption is that the higher the cost of labor, the more people are willing to do that labor. There's more to it than that, but the assumption is sound enough to use in the thought process. It relies on virtually no previous infrastructure to be true. If that is the case, when you raise minimum wage, you are increasing (artificially) the cost of a unit of labor. Under our assumption, more people will want to work now, unless you're already at 100% employment or 0% of the jobs were paying less than the new cost of labor before the increase was made. If that's the case, what has caused virtually no change in employment? Well, we need more information for that. What were the metrics used for employment in that study? Nearly anything could have happened. Employers might have hired two part time workers instead of keeping just one worker and paying overtime, since that small change was magnified by time and a half. The cost of a unit of product could have increased exactly the amount of the wage increase (very much most likely). The point is, force a wage increase does not change the real value of production, nor the market value of the final product. The total value of the transaction is determined only by those two factors. So when you raise the wage, something on either end is forced to give. Negative income tax completely avoids this problem, which is why I offer it as an alternative. Please understand that I'm not attacking the idea of charity or moral correctness. Too many times a discussion of the logical merits and outcomes of an issue get clouded by moral grand standing.

    There are other models of human motivation, but they are not direct replacements for monetary gain anymore than monetary gain is a replacement for them. One in the service industry is the motivation to simply solve problems. Personal fulfillment only works if you have an established base of living. Farmers can do it. People in a service industry can do it. Service industries rely on production industries; they rely on the very mechanisms of capitalism that refine raw goods into products of greater value.

    That also ignores the fact that a majority of people don't and will never find absolute personal fulfillment in the job that gives them the resources they need to stay alive. They might find pride in that job, but they use hobbies for what really makes them happy.
    -Rob
  • ScardyBobScardyBob ScardyBob Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2009-11-25 Member: 69528Posts: 4,983 mod
    I have no problem with using simple black box examples to illustrate or explain issues from a bottom up approach (we call that deriving from first principles in the sciences). The issue is when those models are contradicted by real world data. From what I can tell, many (neo-)classical liberal concepts and ideals don't do a very good job of describing or predicting what is actually happening in the world.

    Personally, I find models a good way of figuring out causation once you've found a correlation. The problem I have is many neo-classical liberal concepts fail at even establishing a correlation.
    FaultySoylent_green
  • RobRob Unknown Enemy Members, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 25Posts: 2,604 Advanced user
    Free market capitalism is a classical liberal idea that ignited the industrial revolution, spurred advances in electronics and the scientific understanding of atoms and particles which lead to integrated circuits and ultimately the orders of magnitude increase in freedom and living standards across the globe. The stark difference between central planning and liberty was seen in the cold war. People continue to agree that freedom of choice is paramount, and yet we continue to be stuck thinking that an amorphous blob of government is the only solution to the social problems of society. Any alternative view relying more on market forces is dismissed as immoral or simple social Darwinism.

    Even the conclusions of the link you posted were better predicted by free market ideas: as I said if raising the minimum wage worked, you would expect more employment, not equal or less.

    And it all starts with the philosophical belief in three natural human rights: life, liberty, property.
    -Rob
    SquishpokePOOPFACE
  • FrothybeverageFrothybeverage Members Join Date: 2003-02-15 Member: 13593Posts: 848
    Caboose wrote: »
    ellnic wrote: »
    Minimum wage need to be higher in all fairness.

    I agree, but the problem is that with increases to minimum wage cause a direct increase to prices you see at the store.

    Or, the corporate bourgeois can take a cut in their profits, they'll survive. And still live like royalty.

    Also, we joined the same day.
    You mean like the banks that the U.S. Gov't bailed out, who then promptly gave their CEOs huge bonuses after professing poverty and that they're "Go out of business without aid."?

    People who own multinational corporations don't like to share their money.
    Look at WalMart.

    A good example of what you're talking about however, is a business like CostCo.
    The average Wage of workers there is $18/hr, and the CEO/Owner of the company still rakes in the money.
    AurOn2
  • Chris0132Chris0132 Members Join Date: 2009-07-25 Member: 68262Posts: 3,854
    Caboose said:
    ScardyBob wrote: »
    Yes, but you're going to get more freeloading with larger groups of people. I think many forgot that people work for more reasons than just money. This is why I like charities such as GiveDirectly.

    Direct cash grants have regularly proven the best anti-poverty method, but are typically not done because some money will inevitably go to those considered 'undeserving'.

    Who decides what 'undeserving' is? Also, what proportion of 'some' is significant enough to deny the majority?
    Everyone?

    Most everyone has their own idea of what constitutes undeserving, traditionally it's been alongwell established trends like blacks or gays or poors or jews or... I can't think of any other short words ending in ess...

    But even if the big trends are breaking down slowly, if steadily, most everyone still has their own idea of a person or group of people who doesn't deserve help, and thus if any generalised help may benefit them, it can't possibly be considered because a lot of folks take real objection to charity, apparently.

    It's odd but the idea of giving someone something just because you can, and not just because they deserve it, just... really seems to alienate people. I have that myself to a degree but it's an odd idea if you think about it. I wonder where it comes from.

    A popular group to apply this to nowadays, what with traditional reasons like 'you were born wrong' becoming dangerously politically incorrect, is criminals. How many people do you know whose idea of justice is to execute or imprison everyone for more or less everything, especially things they personally find annoying, without examining why and [i]certainly[/i] not bothering with any of that silly 'rehabilitation' nonesense, and then in the next breath complain about how they shouldn't have to pay to support prisoners.

    People are strange, they can be both remarkably considerate and remarkably horrible, for remarkably difficult to comprehend reasons.
    Faulty
  • RobRob Unknown Enemy Members, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 25Posts: 2,604 Advanced user
    As you say, any issue is complex.  The biggest mistake made is to assume that an idea like charity has only one meaning and that meaning is shared exactly by everyone on the planet.  Therefore, when someone opposes your idea of charity, it's easy to immediately assume that greed or hate is at fault.  But most of the time, objections to so called charitable programs come from the way those programs are implemented, not the fact that the goal is to help someone.

    In the case of most social assistance programs, the objection comes from the use of government force to basically steal money from one person to give it to someone else.  Morality is also a complex issue and depends highly on perspective.  To a progressive, the ends justify the means.  To a conservative, they do not.  In fact, the use of force corrupts the entire process to the point where any good that might have been done is lost to a gluttony of power.

    History (and most of all recent history in the United States circa 1890-1920) is full of charitable foundations, organizations, and philanthropic ideas.  These were not provided by government in the past, nor will they be in the future.  The only difference between government and a corporation is that you vote once for the government, but vote with every dollar for the corporation.  Men will be drunk on power regardless.
    -Rob
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