Work, money, work (228)

More comments on G&T, chapter , um, 9? Yeah, whatever chapter we’re on.Eight. We’re on chapter eight. (Damn, I’m tired. . . .)

  • What of the notion of ending poverty? Do G&T take this call seriously (enough)? And what of Moore’s observation about caring too much about the sex lives of the poor—in many cases, the sex lives of poor black people. Thus the question: Do G&T adequately consider role of race in calls for welfare reform? [~p. 277]
  • Yes, Philippe Van Parjis makes this argument, but is this really the best egalitarian critique of welfare reform? More to the point, is the egal critique the most forceful critique from the left? What of radical critiques of the particular form of American capitalism, ie, one which relocates the subject from the individual poor person to the economic system in which the poor person lives/which the system produces? [~p. 278]
  • Presumption here of indiv adult responsibility, but faultlessness of children. But what if conditions in child’s life disable her in a morally significant manner in terms of responsibility? Libts acknowledge this in a roundabout way w/their concern for the culture of poverty: kids grow up not knowing any other way, so must end this dysfunctional way. Anti-poverty activists often suspicious of cult of pov arguments, but what if take seriously? A fair amount of evidence that conditions of childhood development affect child’s intelligence and social adaptability. These studies focus on the psychological consequences of development, but it clearly has a sociological component as well: if some children (poor, or in certain kinds of rural or urban environments) lack access to the conditions of full development, they will thus lack the capacities as adults which are generally presumed to exist when these adults are assigned responsibility for their actions. In other words, what is thought to underlay or, perhaps, creates the conditions for, the elements which compose responsibility? Perhaps the first question to be asked is What are the elements of responsibility? Then one can ask about the conditions which create and sustain those elements. This might add another dimension to discussions about indiv-vs-govt (or social) responsibility, such that one might consider individual responsibility a goal rather than an assumption, and thus consider what is involved in achieving this goal. [~p. 290]
  • Unasked: It is better for kids to have parent at home, or have parent working and placed in child care? What if child care suboptimal? What if minimum wage job lousy or far from home, such that parent unable to spend much time w/child? [~p. 295]
  • G&T keeps emphasizing faultlessness, which, given their general moderate-liberal bent, makes sense. But what of claim that humans deserve help even when at fault? Given that we are, after all, human, ie, flawed, mortal, prone to err, wouldn’t it make more sense for the reciprocity prin to base our actions on what we actually are and are likely to do, rather than on some notion of faultlessness or innocence? This doesn’t lessen any notion of obligation; it may, in fact, strengthen it, and not only from well-off to needy, but also needy to well-off. One could argue that since we all mess up, we all are responsible for helping each other out, which means that the poor person (who, after all, is just poor, not other-than-human) has an obligation to help out those who are better off when they need it, just as the wealthy have obligations to the poor. [~p. 295]

Overall impression? Less infuriating than the chapter on surrogacy, but still with the Goldilocks thing! Shees. Enough with the Goldilocks thing!


About proftp

I teach political science and bioethics as an adjunct at a CUNY school.
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