O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

quinta-feira, dezembro 16, 2004

As Misérias do Estado Social

John Blundell escrevre sobre o livro "The Welfare State We're In" de John Bartholomew. Um livro bastante aconselhável, em especial, aos defensores do "Modelo Social Europeu" ou, como diria Hayek, "aos socialistas de todos os partidos".

The Welfare State We're In by James Bartholomew examines our cosy assumptions and looks at the reality of services provided by the state, either nationally or subcontracted through local authorities.

I can only report that, well written though it is, it leaves me in a sort of despair. We are all duped by the mirage that the welfare state is "free" or, if acknowledged, paid for through taxes. What we don't acknowledge is that its main function is now job creation. The welfare state secures careers for millions of its staff.


Bartholomew's studies show how diverse and effective were the self-help networks that existed before democracy brought us the welfare state. A primary instrument was families - he means kinships across the generations and localities. I found it impressive to read how intimate "close-knit communities" were in what the experts regarded as slums and how this unseen tissue of relationships was destroyed by decanting to council estates.


I am convinced reform of these near monopolies is the big project for the next political generation. What alarms me is how very few in Scotland can even entertain such thoughts.

Every political party promises ever more welfare funding. No ranking capitalist suggests better could be provided in the marketplace. Yet the cracks are growing wider.

We all see the NHS can kill as much as cure. It even has its own disease - MRSA. We all know Scottish schools churn out young citizens unable to read, write or count. We can all see the great paradox that it is the poor who are taxed heavily, while the affluent can escape.

For the immediate future, the welfare state in Scotland offers secure, easy careers. The jobs may be tinged by dullness, but your customers cannot escape and diligence is not rewarded.

How different is the capitalist business model: no captive customers, price information, freedom of contract and exchange and the creation of value rather than burning it. My hunch is the market will eventually supersede bureaucratic provision, but I fear it will be a long fight.

posted by Miguel Noronha 3:46 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

mail: migueln@gmail.com