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The practice of wealth distribution based on the belief that all people in a society have a basic minimum need that must be satisfied. Usually accomplished through taxation of the rich and hand outs to the poor. RobinHood?ism, in other words, except the rich are (more or less) voluntarily giving up their wealth.
Why on earth would the rich give up their wealth?
Because they are:
- afraid that it could be them someday
- appreciative of a safety net.
The last point is extremely important. A study showed that while businesspeople from China and America both make business decisions proportionate to the same apparent level of risk, Chinese businesspeople would make choices that Americans would consider far riskier. That was because Chinese businesspeople grew up and lived in a culture where failure didn't mean starvation. Consequently, people who wished to be more than mere proletariat could without fear.
Contrast this with the emaciated SocialWelfare safety net we have in Canada where the poor stay poor. Failure here means being caught by the welfare net that is far too close to the ground; hunger if not starvation. Children growing up in a welfare home frequently are malnourished--which leads to stunted growth, even of the brain--and under-resourced which prevents them from fulfilling their maximal potential.
I'm not sure what makes a WelfareState? a WelfareState?, but Canada definitely has a WelfareCulture? that keeps the ClassStriation fairly intact. -- SunirShah
See also SocialCapitalism, SocialWage, GatedCommunity
[Originally from Wiki:SocialWelfare]
Some of the problem in Canada is rooted in the British North America Act that established Canada and its provinces. Money is bled from the richer provinces into the poorer (especially the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland). Lacking viable businesses or trades (Sydney Steel, fishing), many rely on the federally funded EmploymentInsurance? program (aka Pogey) to survive year to year. Were the federal funding to be withdrawn (unlikely), many would have to migrate to more economically viable regions. Short term, this would be painful; long term, it might be the best thing. Then again, in the internet age, people in remote, economically non-viable regions might eventually be winners, assuming they can market their skills/knowledge/labour capacity via the internet.
Glimmerings of this trend are seen in the rise of telephone support call centres in the Maritime Provinces, taking advantage of low labour rates, cheap long distance calling rates, high speed internet access and the apparent reluctance of many young, skilled workers to leave the region. I suppose the long-term result will be to flatten or remove wage disparities in knowledge-based industries based soley on where people live.
Another reason the rich might consent to SocialWelfare: They understand that their own happiness is related to the happiness of their community. If you're a billionaire with an 8-year-old daughter, you might assign her a bodyguard to prevent from being kidnapped. But if you're idealistic enough, you might entertain the idea of a world where nobody feels desperate enough to do such a thing, and you might try to help bring about such a world, so that perhaps your granddaughter can one day feel safe going to the park by herself. (see also: TedTurner?)
The personal cost of social breakdown is present, in part, in the money you spend to insulate yourself from your community (bodyguards, security systems, gated communities), but the cost is more profound than that. If you live in a world where you need to insulate yourself from everybody significantly poorer than you, what is the spiritual cost? What's the cost of having to worry if your poorer friends are just interested in you for your money? What's the cost of having to constantly turn down panhandlers on the street? What's the cost of having to bear the resentment of those less fortunate than you? Perhaps, in the long run, it would be better for both you and them if you helped make the world a little more equitable. -- FrancisHwang
- Speaking from personal experience more or less, people deal with this without having any problems whatsoever. The rich live in condominiums with their own security, nice pools, aircons and what not, outside the pollution, poverty, the grime, lepers, prostitution and what not take over. You drive to work in an armoured vehicle, dark windows, driver, security, the school for the rich foreigners is guarded, barb wire, students may not leave school grounds, people come and go using school buses. With more desperate poor, they would have increased school bus security. Everything beyond that is a revolution and will cause the rich to leave. You'd have to extend your model to the entire world and that's science fiction. The world I just described was Bangkok 1989-1991. --AlexSchroeder.