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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why the Peace Corps Hates The Free Market

I've been in a debate over at Sojourner's on the importance of helping the poor.

Now, I've got a small pamphlet on this theme, available for free download and free reproduction, but the debate got me thinking.

What, really, is the difference between a "social-justice" type who spends a couple of years in the Peace Corps, or who sends money overseas to help the poor and the CEOs of major corporations who send jobs overseas?

I mean, the "social-justice" types are always catewauling about how we should pay higher taxes in order to help the poor. But a lot of them seem upset that CEOs are sending jobs overseas.

Now, isn't the sending of a job overseas simply the imposition of a kind of tax?
I mean, what's the difference between the government taking half my salary in order to send it overseas and the CEO moving my job overseas?

Well, there is one difference.
The poor person overseas who gets the new job will probably start thinking of himself in a much different way than the poor person overseas who just gets a handout.

The one with a job begins to think he actually has self-worth, that he is actually contributing to society. He is actively supporting himself and his (perhaps extended) family. He might begin to consider that if he's worth something, he might have intrinsic rights that others don't have a right to quash or infringe on.

The person who just gets a handout doesn't have any of these thoughts.

Now, obviously the CEO does all this in order to be mean, and to increase his own profit margin.

But, isn't it the case that a lot of people involved in "social justice" do it in order to feel superior to the down-trodden? Don't they do it because the very fact that they are the "helper" and not the "helpee" necessarily makes them better than all those dark-skinned, infantile foreigners who could never make it without the help of the "social justice" type?

So, how much social justice is driven by "the white man's burden" concept Kipling so succinctly described?

The Peace Corps workers, the UN workers, steal jobs from the locals, the CEOs send jobs to the locals. I lose my job to a computer or an overseas worker - to me, it matters not which. Either way, I have to re-train in some other field.

If I am against shipping jobs overseas, then am I against technology in the workplace?
For a computer can often take my job at least as effectively as an Indonesian.

Forty years ago, we were angry at computers for taking jobs.
We got over it.
Why are we still angry at CEOs and Indonesians?

Why do we like the Peace Corps and higher taxes, which steal jobs and take my money, but get angry with CEOs, who move jobs and take my money?

Perhaps its because we can retrain for a new job, start earning again and keep our self-esteem, but we can't escape taxes except by losing our income and our self-esteem.

Peace Corps workers don't do things for money, don'cha know.
CEOs do things for money.

Yes, but if money is not meant to be the measure of our society, why are the Peace Corps workers so upset about what the CEO does for money? Wouldn't noticing that kind of thing be beneath them? By fixating on it, don't they just reinforce the idea that it really is all about the money?

Or is it more simple?

Perhaps Peace Corps workers just don't like the competition that CEOs present.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I understand you believe that the government should not involve itself with charitable works, because these works should be the responsibility of the individual alone either to cooperate or not to cooperate with God's saving grace.

However, why then do we Catholics believe that government should involve itself with preventing certain moral evils, homosexual "marriage" for example, when likewise it should be the responsibility of the individual, without government compulsion, either to cooperate with God's saving grace or to choose sin?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

It is always the decision of any individual person to undertake moral acts or not.

Neither the Church nor the state can force anyone to act morally or immorally.

What either one can do is impose physical penalties to maintain the social order.

You can't use taxes to force someone to be charitable because the definition of charity is that the person gives freely. You can impose taxes as punishment. Government often does.

scotju said...

I went over to SOJO to see your comments about helping the poor. Your remarks about socialism, government intervention in the form of welfare, and leftism were dead on right. Your opponents were, IMHO, willfully ignorant of the facts of history. This was especially true in their lack of understanding about what socialism was all about. Anyone who has done some in depth reading about socialism knows any form of it is leftist. Nazism is as leftist as communism is; one only has to read and compare the Nazi's 25 points statement and the Communist Manifesto to realize one is as leftist as the other. The differances between the two are minor. The so called right-wingism of the Nazi's was, in my understanding,that they allowed private property, as long as they had the ultimate say so on how the property was to be used. It's articles like this and the comments you make here and at other blogs that keep me coming back. It's refreshing to hear truth and facts, not biased, prejudical, personal opinions that are presented as facts on way too many blogs.

Patrick said...

The computer debate has already been decided that it actually created more jobs than were lost. For the most part, secretarial losses were replaced by software designers, computer engineers, server administrators and computer desktop support jobs. It is difficult to determine real numbers when economy changes and other factors wage in, however it has been considered that every job loss to tech equals two created.

The idea that sending jobs overseas as a sort of corporate charity is considered common knowledge in the Political Science fields. The feds large investment in foreign corporations or countries endorsing those companies is in the hopes we don't have to worry about feeding them in the future. Using this as a political strategy has been used for generations and is not a recent idea. However, what is different is the amount of money the government has to give to these endeavors.

I wonder if part of the large increase in "charitable money" being given to pet-related causes is exactly because the average individual has decided that corporations and governments have for the most part taken responsibility for feeding the poor of the world.

Jim Dorchak said...

I had read a report somewhere or maybe it was a video on the high number of American women (peace Corps volunteers) who are raped and then given forced abortions then later made fun of by managment for being cry babies. Whats more many of these rapes occur through muslem interactions.
What a wonderful form of charity eh?

Jim Dorchak

Nilk said...

@Jim, that would be this report?

I read the same one and distressingly was not surprised.

Indeed, the only surprise is that it has taken so long for the news to come out. Not that it's been plastered all over the place like it should have been.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Yep, had that link up on about a month ago.

Very sad.