In Ptolemaic cosmology, it was believed that after 36, years, the planets would return to their original places of the moment of creation. Posted on by a guest.:
Introduction Standard theory views government as functional: The analogy rests on the market economy: But surely it is strained to say that, in the same way, a demand for postal services will spontaneously give rise to a government monopoly Post Office, outlawing its competition and giving us ever-poorer service for ever-higher prices.
Indeed, if the analogy fails when even a genuine service e. When the government, in short, takes money at gun point from A and gives it to B, who is demanding what?
The cream cheese producer on the market is using his resources to supply a genuine demand for cream cheese; he is not engaged in coercive redistribution.
But what about the government's taking from A and giving the money to B? Who are the demanders, and who are the suppliers? One can say that the subsidized, the "donees," are "demanding" this redistribution; surely, however, it would be straining credulity to claim that A, the fleeced, is also "demanding" this activity.
A, in fact, is the reluctant supplier, the coerced donor; B is gaining at A's expense.
But the really interesting role here is played by G, the government. For apart from the unlikely case where G is an unpaid altruist, performing this action as an uncompensated Robin Hood, G gets a rake-off, a handling charge, a finder's fee, so to speak, for this little transaction.
G, the government, in other words, performs his act of "redistribution" by fleecing A for the benefit of B and of himself.
Once we focus on this aspect of the transaction, we begin to realize that G, the government, might not just be a passive recipient of B's felt need and economic demand, as standard theory would have it; instead, G himself might be an active demander and, as a full-time, paid Robin Hood, might even have stimulated B's demand in the first place, so as to be in on the deal.
The felt need, then, might be on the part of the governmental Robin Hood himself. Why The Welfare State? Why has government increased greatly over this century?
Specifically, why has the welfare state appeared, grown, and become ever-larger and more powerful? What was the functional need felt here?
One answer is that the development of poverty over the past century gave rise to welfare and redistribution. But this makes little sense, since it is evident that the average person's standard of living has grown considerably over the past century-and-a-half, and poverty has greatly diminished.
But perhaps inequality has been aggravated, and the masses, even though better off, are upset by the increased income gap between themselves and the wealthy? But it should also be evident from one glance at the Third World that the disparity of income and wealth between the rich and the masses is far greater there than in Western capitalist countries.
So what's the problem? Another standard answer more plausibly asserts that industrialization and urbanization, by the late 19th century, deprived the masses, uprooted from the soil or the small town, of their sense of community, belonging, and mutual aid.
Certainly it is true that the welfare state emerged during the same period as industrialization and urbanization, but coincidence does not establish causation. One grave flaw in this urbanization theory is that it ignores the actual nature of the city, at least as it had been before it was effectively destroyed in the decades after World War II.
The city was not a monolithic agglomeration but a series of local neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive character, network of clubs, fraternal associations, and street corner hangouts. Jane Jacobs's memorable depiction of the urban neighborhood in her Death and Life of Great American Cities was a charming and accurate portrayal of the unity in diversity of each neighborhood, of the benign role of the "street watcher" and the local storekeeper.
Large city life in the United States by was almost exclusively Catholic and ethnic, and both the political and social life of Catholic males in each neighborhood revolved, and still, to an extent, revolves, around the neighborhood saloon.The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
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