Friday, 8 November 2019

"When one gets anguished over the poor conditions faced by some people at any given stage of economic and historical development, one is obliged to ask two fundamental questions: compared to what and why were they poor in the first place?" #QotD


"When one gets anguished over the poor conditions faced by some people at any given stage of economic and historical development, one is obliged to ask two fundamental questions: compared to what and why were they poor in the first place?"
~ David Hart, from his 2018, essay, 'The Problem of Terminology: Why ‘Capitalism’?' -- part of a cross-party discussion on 'Marx and the Morality of Capitalism' [hat tip Don Boudreaux]
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3 comments:

  1. They were poor in the first place because they were not 'lucky sperm'...very simple to understand.

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  2. Compared to motivated... hard working and or smart people

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    Replies
    1. And that's a problem. You're defining poverty by RELATIVE measures--and by that there will always be poverty. A society could be so vastly wealthy that its poor people had cold fusion generators and mater-replicators, and you'd still be able to point to a disparity in wealth (however defined) and say that some folks are poor.

      A better measure is absolute measures. Starvation is absolute, and it's now pretty much gone in our culture. Availability of potable water is another--and even the poorest person has access to it. When your "poor" have refrigerators, cars, cell phones, big-screen TVs, and enough food that it causes health problems, you've conquered poverty.

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