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Capitalism 2.0: The Welfare State

Posted on Sunday, Mar 29th 2009

I have written quite a bit already about my aversion to the welfare state philosophy, the chronic deficit spending, and the ensuing entitlitis and affluenza. Here’s Ayn Rand on the problems with a welfare state and guaranteed economic security:

“Since the things man needs for survival have to be produced, and nature does not guarantee the success of any human endeavor, there is not and cannot be any such thing as a guaranteed economic security. The employer who gives you a job, has no guarantee that his business will remain in existence, that his customers will continue to buy his products or services. The customers have no guarantee that they will always be able and willing to trade with him, no guarantee of what their needs, choices and incomes will be in the future. If you retire to a self-sustaining farm, you have no guarantee to protect you from what a flood or a hurricane might do to your land and your crops. If you surrender everything to the government and give it total power to plan the whole economy, this will not guarantee your economic security, but it will guarantee the descent of the entire nation to a level of miserable poverty—as the practical results of every totalitarian economy, communist or fascist, have demonstrated.

Morally, the promise of an impossible “right” to economic security is an infamous attempt to abrogate the concept of rights. It can and does mean only one thing: a promise to enslave the men who produce, for the benefit of those who don’t. “If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.” There can be no such thing as the right to enslave, i.e., the right to destroy rights.”

Alan Greenspan has an addendum: “Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. . .The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.”

And, more from Ayn Rand: “Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull. Morally, the chance to satisfy demands by force spreads the demands wider and wider, with less and less pretense at justification. Economically, the forced demands of one group create hardships for all others, thus producing an inextricable mixture of actual victims and plain parasites. Since need, not achievement, is held as the criterion of rewards, the government necessarily keeps sacrificing the more productive groups to the less productive, gradually chaining the top level of the economy, then the next level, then the next. (How else are unachieved rewards to be provided?)

There are two kinds of need involved in this process: the need of the group making demands, which is openly proclaimed and serves as cover for another need, which is never mentioned—the need of the power-seekers, who require a group of dependent favor-recipients in order to rise to power. Altruism feeds the first need, statism feeds the second, Pragmatism blinds everyone—including victims and profiteers—not merely to the deadly nature of the process, but even to the fact that a process is going on.”

With that as background, read this article from the NYT today which ends with an alarming sentiment: “The era of phony prosperity has ended, and a new era of real shared sacrifice must begin.”

This segment is a part in the series : Capitalism 2.0

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