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From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

Page history last edited by Mike 10 years, 10 months ago

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a fundamentally good idea. ~  Louis Blanc in 1840


Reasons to agree

  1. Catholic social teaching holds that everyone has the right to a basic standard of living. 
  2. Income inequality is a problem in the USA. (+0)
  3. Equality of income opportunity is a problem in the USA. (-1)
  4. Socialism would be nice, if it worked (-2) 


Reasons to disagree

  1. When you implement “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” magically, everyone starts having quite a lot of need and very little ability. 
  2. People will never be motived, without mass brain-washing, to work for the good of society despite the absence of a social mechanism compelling them to work.
  3. When the wealth is redistributed only the redistributers will have wealth! 
  4. Young people are drawn to socialism because they are idealistic.  
  5. Socialsim doesn't work. On the surface this sounds good. This is why young people gravitate to liberalism. However when they get older, they realize that liberalism has negative un-intended consequences. For instance, how does one go about implementing the "to each according to his needs" part? To give something to someone according to their needs, you have to have it in the first place. Or steal it. And you don't want to trust a government that has the power to take everything from someone. Power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts ultimately. And then you see a sinister lining to the "from each according to his ability".
  6. Shouldn't it be "from each according to their free will and energy"? You can drive a horse till it dies, or until it does not have the ability to go any further. Is that the way a government should look at it's citizens? What if I have the ability to be a great architect, but I don't have the motivation? Should the government force me?
  7. The free market leads to better quality,
  8. We should be rewarded by how much we contribute, as determined by the marketplace with a few modifications by government to keep the system fair. 
  9. This system requires someone to have the power to determine how much someone else needs. Because governments are made up of men, and men are by nature evil, those in power will always determine that they need much more than others.
  10. When it comes to “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” who gets to decide what those abilities and needs are?
  11. Socialism works fine as long as there is Capitalism to pay for it, but sooner or later, Socialism runs our of other people’s money.
  12. The Founding Fathers created government to provide Justice, not fairness.
  13.  Socialism is based on the premise that all people are good at heart. One look at the prison population in any country will prove that wrong.
  14. If people think they can make socialism work in a better way, the should only do it with their money. They shouldn't try to take money from people who are not interested in their experiments.  
  15. You can agree that we don't have equality of opportunity, and want to try and fix that, but still not support government control of business. For instance, if we remove the property tax funding of education, that way you can give all kids the same amount of money for their education. If we work really hard to try and give each kid a fair start, and say they have equal opportunities, then we can treat adults like grown ups, and keep capitalism that rewards those who really want to work hard, or are smarter, or lucky, and not just those who got a good start in life.  Scholarships for the poor, Harvard charging you based on what you parents made, all of these things are good things that we can do to make capitalism more fair, without resorting to socialism, which is too inefficient, and harms people's character by making them lazy. 


Score: +3 (reasons to agree), -14 (reasons to disagree), -4 (reasons to disagree with reasons to agree), = -15


Interest / Motivation of those who agree:

  1. The desire to be seen as counterintuitive, if you are an American, by supporting a former American enemy (socialism or communism). 
  2. The desire for equality of outcome. 


Interest / Motivation of those who disagree: 

  1. The desire for equality of opportunity.  

Books that agree:

  1. The Communist Manifesto 


Books that disagree:

  1. Socialism: an economic and sociological analysis by Ludwig Von Mises  

People who agree 



People who disagree 


Web pages that agree



Web pages that disagree 



Videos that agree:


Videos that disagree:

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