...And Economic Justice for All: Welfare Reform for the 21st Century

By Michael L. Murray | Go to book overview

3
The Market
Who Gets What, Why, and Whether

Capitalism -- awesome or awful? I say neither. It may well be the best system around, but it is far from a perfect operation. Having taught in colleges of business administration for over a quarter-century, I am well aware of the reverential awe in which this system is held by many of my colleagues. It's enough to put me in mind of a popular song, the last line of which might be paraphrased "and you don't mess around with the market."

In this chapter, I argue for a reasoned view of capitalism and its attendant market. In this book, the terms "the market system" and "capitalism" will be used interchangeably. One author points out, however, that they should not. According to Robert Heilbroner, the market system is only one component of capitalism. 1

While it's desirable to acknowledge the blessings of the market, we must also acknowledge its blemishes. It has been suggested that one of the blemishes of capitalism is the view of human nature it presupposes. In Looking Backward: 2000-1887, Edward Bellamy has a speaker give the following report to people in the year 2000 on the views of those in 1887:

It was the sincere belief of even the best of men at that epoch [ 1887] that the only stable elements in human nature, on which a social system could be safely founded, were its worst propensities. [The speaker was referring to greed and self-seeking.] 2

Chief among the faults, and the focus of this book, is the lousy job the market (or capitalism) does of allocating wealth. The results are far from just.

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...And Economic Justice for All: Welfare Reform for the 21st Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Life Is Not Fair, but People Can Be 11
  • Notes 33
  • 2 - Are You Worthy? Current U.S. Welfare Programs 41
  • Notes 65
  • 3 - The Market Who Gets What, Why, and Whether 75
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - Work--Who Needs It? 107
  • Notes 124
  • 5 - We Are What We Were 129
  • Notes 145
  • 6 - Why the Guaranteed Adequate Income 153
  • Appendix Results of Negative Income Tax Experiments 169
  • 7 - The History of Guaranteed Income Plans 178
  • Notes 187
  • 8 - The Guaranteed Adequate Income Proposal 190
  • Notes 201
  • 9 - Cost and Funding Calculations 204
  • 10 - Final Thoughts 222
  • References 227
  • Index 229
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