Saturday, January 16, 2010
"From both a liberal and a mildly libertarian perspective, it would be preferable to have big, decisive, well-defined programs that fully guarantee key public goods--such as Social Security, defense, national health insurance, or anti-trust regulation--on one side, and a fairly open field for human activity on the other, with the line between public and private, regulated and unregulated domains, fairly obvious and well-guarded."
Interestingly, this encapsulates my recent thoughts that certain services - health care, education, social security, etc. - should be universal and guaranteed, and innovation and entrepreneurship allowed free reign after this.
I would add that environmental protections have to be as rigorously maintained as anti-trust laws. And that money has to be kept entirely out of politics, and perhaps entirely out of media, as well.
"We are fully convinced that every human being is endowed with enormous capacity to contribute to the economy and society. By one’s own effort one can pull himself/herself out of poverty.… The poor do not need charity or a handout. The only thing that the poor need is a supportive set of institutions and rules. Charity and handouts were invented to avoid the issue of poverty alleviation. Handouts carry the message that the society is ignoring you. It is not interested in your ability. (p. 8)"
- Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, from this article by David Stoaz, advocating asset-building institutions rather than income-subsidized welfare policies.