Poverty, charity and the state


Brown will reduce child poverty by making all families equally poor, while Cameron will take politics out of social action by putting the Conservatives at the centre of it. Where can one turn to for some logical thinking on poverty, charity and the state?

Certainly not to What are the implications of attitudes to economic inequality?, a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that gives voice to a number of think tanks discussing economic inequality. Take the Fabian’s contribution for example. They cannot decipher the following facts: most people are not keen on an unequal society, but people do not want income to be redistributed and they certainly don’t want the government involved in this.

This for the Fabians is a political paradox. But it is only their paradox. Many people are not keen on inequality because people have sympathy for others and do not want to see fellow humans having a tough time of things. However, they don’t want to redistribute money because they prefer to look after their family and do not think simply giving money and resources to others is a real solution. The reason people don’t want the government involved is because they realize how inefficient it will be and because it has a bad record on this.

When will politicians follow the public’s instinct on this one? Gordon will bankrupt us to end poverty, while Cameron will destroy honest charities with the stink of politics. It is the choice between dumb and dumber.