Deepak Tripathi

Writer / Thinker, Roehampton University London

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Outbreak of violence in British cities is yet another wake-up call. Time to return to welfare governance instead of war.

The West is engaged in hugely expensive foreign conflicts as part of the "war on terror." All sorts of reasons are given for the economic collapse, but war as a factor does not receive sufficient attention in the economic debate. Governments are spending colossal amounts of money on war, and making brutal cuts in social and welfare programs.

The outbreak of violence in British cities is yet another wake-up call. It is time to return to welfare governance.

  • Sep 1 2011: While I agree with your sentiments regarding too much being spent on war, I think there were a lot of holigans looking for reasons to "smash and grab." The lure of free stuff seems to have ensnared some of those from outside the hooligans, in a mob frenzy.

    I see high unemployment as more of a wake-up call than these freak events.
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    Aug 9 2011: Privatization will prosper, no matter the economic situation. I believe in pure laissez-faire capitalism. I think that Reagan was right in believing that Trickle Down Economics would create an economic situation in which everyone prospered. Those with intelligence and the drive to succeed and live productive lives will prosper, while those who exist solely based upon the achievements of others will fall. The government should not step in when these people fall, but rather should allow them to do so, so that they can learn and achieve for themselves. And while this may sound cruel, it would solve so many of the world's problems. I am not saying that one should be totally selfish, but rather that one should live by the principle of rational self interest; one should exist solely for the sake of his own happiness, and must live in a manner that does not violate the rights of any other individual.

    As a corollary to this, I believe that taxes should not be based upon the pay scale of the individual. While the brainwashed altruist in you might force you to hate me for this question, ask it to yourself, and answer honestly: how is it fair that one who works hard, and acquires his wealth by honest means is forced to pay more than those who do not put in their fair share? Obviously taxes can never be abolished, since they provide the government with needed income to function, yet I pose that we establish a federal flat tax (say 10%), and abolish all income and property tax.

    The problem today is not too much privatization, but gross misconduct in or government. We have strayed so far from democracy that we may not even realize how unjust some of the actions of our government are. I say return to democracy, return to capitalism. Give the people back the inalienable rights that our Constitution grants them. It states clearly we have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn't give the government the ability to constrain these rights at will.
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    Aug 9 2011: I don't understand how a welfare state is even plausible at this point, at least in the U.S. With the economy crashing, and the state of the nation in peril, the government is in absolutely no position to start massive, sweeping programs such as you are suggesting. Welfare government (utilitarianism, socialism, communism, whatever you want to call it) has not and never will present a viable form of government in modern society. In a world society where democracy is the overall most common form of governance, retreating to a welfare state would do nothing to ease the situation. Not only is the people's trust in the United States government rapidly declining, but the economic might of the nation is declining as well. Where would the government receive the funds to implement these vast "socially progressive" programs?

    In my opinion, the only thing left for the government to do is to relax its control on the nation. I believe that a government exists only in order to protect and promote the rights of its citizens. A government should protect the country through warfare, but only if said war is for the sake of protecting the citizens of its own nation. The war in the middle east has gone on for way too long without any logical arguments for its purpose. At first the war may have been just, but after almost 10 years, it should be over.

    A government should not by any means attempt to control and regulate the decisions made by its citizens. The only truly democratic solution we have in front of us is to turn to privatization as a way of returning to our truly democratic roots. As well, I believe that the government should impose shorter term limits, in order to ensure a fresh flow of ideas and change in the nation. Modern government has become too crowded with lobbyists and other "parasites" that hinder the progress of our nation. I say we separate economics and state, just as we separate the church and state. Let privatization happen.
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    Aug 9 2011: Good question! In the Soviet Union, the state decided where a citizen could live, where they went to study or they studied at all. Citizens needed internal visas to travel etc. That was excessive control. Excessive control is also when the state allows targeting one set of people or religious faith, but punishes anybody accused of being anti-some other faith. This is being lax in some respects and excessive in others, known also as inconsistency, hypocricy. What we have in the West is an abandonment of state responsibility in many areas in recent years. If the state does not, or cannot, take the lead in areas I have mentioned above, then it has no role. We might as well become anarchists.
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    Aug 9 2011: Roughly speaking, by welfare goverance, I mean an enlightened (not wasteful) governance in which it is taken that the state has a guiding role in listening to citizens, identifying scietal needs and taking steps to direct common resources toward the goals of opportunity, justice and peace. The state cannot leave essentials to private hands and claim that government should not have much to do with how society operates. We should ask what is wrong with the current neoconservative-neoliberal thinking?

    1. Leaving national institutions and services (health, education, utilities) to private corporations; r now that corporate business is facing economic challenges, leaving the institutions and services to charities, citizen groups, even individual citizens themselves. Therefore,

    (a) privatisation of the National Health Service - wrong
    (b) privatisation of higher education, charging high levels of tuition - wrong
    (c) privatisation of essential services like gas, water, electricity - risky
    (d) drastic cuts in social services, care for the elderly, housing benefits for poor (Naomi Klein called it the "Shock Doctrine") - wrong
    (e) the state contributing to an environment in which wealth gap widens - wrong and dangerous
    (f) not fulfilling its responsibility to monitor and facilitate wealth distribution that is socially acceptable (corporate business with too much freedom is predatory); otherwise there will be social unrest.

    2. While abandoning many of the domestic functions, the state keeping policing and the armed forces under its control - police to apply coercion to maintain 'order' at home, the military to fight wars abroad, and hugely expensive ones. I am not advocating excessive state control. I am advocating governance with consent, which is largely absent, and a return to some degree of enlightenment that means a realization that minority groups are ignored at our peril.

    DT
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      Aug 9 2011: I appreciate your thoughtfulness on the question of 'welfare governance'. I note, however, at the end you state, "I am not advocating excessive state control" while in the body of your statement you suggest the state, in addition to the military and police, be in charge of wealth distribution, health, education, utilities, and social services, including housing.

      In light of this, how does one define excessive? When does that line get crossed?

      Regards and Respect.