Re: virus: RE: new FAQ

Duane Hewitt (
Tue, 7 Nov 1995 14:07:44 -0700 (MST)

On Tue, 7 Nov 1995, David Leeper wrote:

> While I agree with you that welfare is all these things, I do not believe it
> is _just_ these things. My mother was on welfare for nearly the entire time
> she raised my brother and I. Welfare gave us food and a place to live.
> Since then I've gone on to serve 5 years in the military, including writing
> software for the pentagon which helped them track Russian ships during the
> Cold War, I've helped to implement a corparate-wide database for US West,
> I've written software for two interactive TV corporations, and products for
> the folks here at Sybase. I think the government's help during my youth was
> money well spent. Without welfare, I don't know what my mother would have
> done. In fact, as a single mother with two childern and no education, I
> shudder to think of the alternatives to welfare.

In response to this I would suggest that private charities would have
done as well or better than welfare. There are several studies which
suggest that this is the case. However in welfare states private charity
shrivels because the government becomes responsible for providing these
functions. Government inefficiency in these areas is well noted.

> However, welfare never enriched my mother's memes. I was able to improve my
> situation because I was young. She was not so lucky.

I would suggest that your case is the exception and not the rule. Welfare
seems to be a vicious circle that some escape and many do not.

> >These programs take from those who have demonstrated successful memetic
> >adaptation and gives to those who are dysfunctional.
> This statement stinks of Social Darwinism, and I simply cannot support it.

Evolution is occuring all around this and using the vilified term "Social
Darwinism" seems to me to be an attempt to hide that fact.

> All current economic meme complexes have problems. It is likely that all
> future ones will as well. What I'm hoping is that we can take an honest
> look at the current problems and at human nature. Based on this we may be
> able to come up with ideas that build on our strengths, accept our
> weaknesses as humans, and provide a better environment for mankind. The
> "Capitalist" meme complex may be the best we have right now, but it still
> sucks.

Specifically, in what ways does it suck? I agree that some of the
manifestations of consumerism appear quite irrational but it seems that
the benefits outweigh the costs in most peoples's opinion. I don't know
about your lifestyle but there are probably many benefits that you reap
because of the "capitalist" system.

> While there are cultural and moral issues involved, reseach has shown that
> improved economic well-being leads to lower growth rates in population, even
> when the cultural and moral issues remain.


> What's bad is there are just to damn many people on this planet. What
> should we do about it? I don't know.

Either do I but maybe that is a question Virus could address.

> >The capitalist countries are stagnant or declining in population growth.
> I'm not sure what you mean by "capitalist country". Industrial nations are
> having exponential growth in population.

No, It is the less developed countries that are having the population
Without immigration almost every industrialized nation has a negative or
flat growth rate. In the industrialized countries as in the rest of the world
the highest growth rates are among the poor.

Good to communicate with you,

Duane Hewitt