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This is a recurrent issue. The sociologist Peter Townsend did a fantastic study of poverty in the 60s & 70s that approached the subject taking both self-perception & perception by non-poor seriously. He attempted, and largely succeeded, in establishing that the definition of poverty, and government action, be based on a combination of their aspirations (e.g. "would love to afford a holiday twice a year for family") and objective measures ("how many holidays did they actually take?"). Its in this way that one can reduce bias caused by the understandable fact that poorer people want to avoid social classification as poor because that, in practice, reduces their life chances even more.
An astute query: "Maybe capitalism has picked the low-hanging fruit." The consequences of this are terrifying. In 1950 this would not have mattered. Now it does. As the low fruit is picked blindness is multiplied. It fogs the importance of choosing for future sustainability. I am considering moving to Siberia.
The mode of reasoning Hayek would have used for this case would have faults. The main problem is the blurring of market reasoning with other logics (principally military pragmatics). The basis for debate over the *principles* are confused and this shows in politically ragged positions. As far as I can see, the issue for 10 years has been the US military's shame at not killing BL earlier.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2011 on Two justices at Stumbling and Mumbling
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May 3, 2011