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The poor need the state, family and philanthropy (3)

(Shanghai Daily)

09:54, September 14, 2011

Social justice

Restoring growth in the short term while addressing debt problems in the medium and long term may well be the only valid response to the crisis.

But it will not work, in Europe or elsewhere, without a much greater emphasis on social justice.

While some of the very rich complain, as Warren Buffett did recently, that they do not pay enough taxes, the enlightened generosity of these happy few - who want to save capitalism and liberalism - is unlikely to be emulated by the new rich in the emerging countries, much less by the rich elsewhere.

Let's be realistic: people like Buffett and Bill Gates have very few followers even among the very rich in the US. And can Asian societies really revive an effective sense of family responsibility?

Globalization does appear to have weakened cultural differences noticeably in the past decade.

But, when it comes to the protection of the weakest and the struggle against rising social injustice, perhaps "global deculturation" creates an opportunity to combine the best of what remains in particular traditions.

Perhaps countries should seek to base their social-welfare systems on a new synthesis of the state, the family, and philanthropy.

Dominique Moisi is the author of "The Geopolitics of Emotion." Copyright: Project Syndicate,

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