Sean Roach roach_s at alph.swosu.edu
Wed Aug 27 09:55:30 PDT 1997

At 11:55 PM 8/26/97 -0700, Kent Crispin wrote:
>On Mon, Aug 25, 1997 at 02:20:33PM -0700, Tim May wrote:
>> And I think that most of what passes for "help" actually does more harm
>> than good, at least in the longterm.
>There is no doubt that sometimes "help" does more harm than good. 
>There is also no doubt that sometimes help does more good than harm.  
>Platitudes like these don't really give one much real guidance.
>> For example, sending food aid to Third World countries sounds noble and
>> good. But most studies show the real effect of such aid: it destroys the
>> local infrastructure of food production and distribution. (Imagine being a
>> poor Somali farmer bringing your grain to market, and seeing tons of U.S.
>> grain being distributed freely...it wipes that farmer out, and his future
>> years of production are gone, even after the U.S. food aid is also gone.)
>So the farmer can die of starvation later rather than earlier.  The
>problem is not with help, per se -- it's with the specifics of how the
>help is implemented.  What do you think the farmer would chose -- get
>some food now, and take his chances with his food production at a
>later time, or die of starvation immediately?
>A current case is North Korea.  Of course if you give them food it
>will help perpetuate an evil government.  On the other hand, if you
>don't give them food, lot's and lot's of people would die.  Tim's
>answer is that you might as well let them die, rather than perpetuate
>the government that enslaves them.  Others aren't quite as 
>cold-blooded as Tim.
I would venture to guess that very limited sustanence and more active aid to
the faltering industry would be more effective.  Then again I have heard of
brand new tractors rusting in the field because the local farmer couldn't or
wouldn't adapt to it, so even aid to the industry can be ineffective.

>> For example, the welfare system. Who can argue that it produces persons
>> unable or unwilling to take the available jobs, mostly at or near minimum
>> wage? When a welfare mother of two or more children can collect the total
>> equivalent (direct payments, food coupons, tax exemptions, day care) of $15
>> an hour, it would  be foolish for her to apply for a job at Burger King for
>> $6.35 an hour, and then have to pay almost that amount to put her kids in
>> some day care center. The longer she is out of the job market, the worse it
>> gets.
>The welfare system obviously has all kinds of problems.  It's not 
>easy giving help without creating dependency.  That doesn't mean it 
>can't be done.
I like the idea of reviving the WPA.  We have enough county and state jobs
that need to get done, and do not require any formal training.  Some can
even be done by the blind, deaf, mentally handicapped, and wheelchair bound
individuals who might actually jump at the chance to pull thier own weight.
I believe the idea is called "right to work", but I could be misinformed.

>> For example, saving people from their bad choices in life. When we force
>> insurers to cover those who do stupid, formerly uninsurable things, or when
>> we force the providers of legally and freely-chose substances (tobacco,
>> hamburger, guns, breast implants, rock climbing equipment, etc.) to pay for
>> the stupid actions of others, even if only imagined, costs rise and choices
>> narrow.
>Yep.  I don't see this as the same category of trying to help people, 
>though.  Rather, I think this example points out the end result of 
>our adversarial legal system.

Pretty soon every revolver will have a warning label.  "Warning, misuse of
this tool can result in injury and death.  By handling this item you consent
to bear all legal responsibility reguarding its use."  Never mind that such
should be implied.

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