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The poor need the state, family and philanthropy

(Shanghai Daily)

09:51, September 14, 2011


Illustration by Zhou Tao

With the deepening of the economic crisis and the prospect of another recession looming large on the horizon, growing social inequality has become an increasingly urgent issue. How does one reinforce a sense of solidarity and responsibility within a country? Who will protect the weakest?

As I ponder this issue, I am reminded of a debate that I had more than 10 years ago in Berlin with the German theologian Hans Kung and American and Asian participants.

The subject was "Globalization and Ethics" - specifically, a comparison of the ways that Europe, the United States and Asia protect the most fragile members of their societies.

All of the participants agreed that in Europe the state traditionally filled the role played by private philanthropy in the US and by the family in Asia. But we all hastened to add that no model was "pure," ie, the family was no longer what it used to be in Asia, the state was playing a bigger role than expected in America, and it was often under-performing in Europe.

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McCarthy at 2011-09-14206.125.74.*
Ridiculous!! To rely on the Philanthropy of the wealthy leaves those who on the receiving end at the mercy of those individuals. What happens when those wealthy individuals place strings on their philanthropy? Or decide not to give as much or at all? It is the responsibility of any society thru government to provide assistance to the aged, disabled, victims of natural disaster, drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and criminality. Privatization of social welfare is a capitalist scheme to escape the responsibility of the state.
Canada at 2011-09-1470.36.49.*
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The path towards social justice and equality lies with socialism/communism, a State led by a Communist vanguard that has the interests of the masses at heart, and social ownership of the means of production where possible. Once the State’s productive forces are highly developed so that from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, is possible, the role of the State would change. The major obstacle is a world where capitalism predominates; especially problematic is America, the world’s superpower intent on world hegemony. The masses need to be engaged intellectually by showcasing what could be possible if capitalism went the way of the dinosaur. I have my own ideas how that could be done but I’m not going to publish them on a website. Detours only lead to disillusion, solve nothing, & further alienate the masses.
  

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