[lbo-talk] Entitlements and Rights

c b cb31450 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 11 08:40:43 PDT 2011

// ravi

I am writing up a response to this libertarian blog post that was quoted by a friend:


(the author is an Indian journalist who is a research fellow at Cato)

And one thing with which I can use some help from youse guys is this claim by Aiyar (the author) that "Welfarism was once touted as the great Marxist vision". From the little I know of Marx and his ideas, this does not make much sense. In my understanding, Marx's prescriptions are not the sort of market socialism one sees in the West which provides the context for talk of "entitlements".




CB: Marx's rough and ready formula for socialism, as a transitional phase between capitalism to communism, is " from each according to ability , to each according to work." He who does not work does not eat (!), if they are capable of working. But everybody can work , because socialism provides full employment, so there are jobs for all. There is a right and responsibility to work. However, a social and pension fund for the elderly, children and sick is definitely part of it.

With capitalism , there are _never_ enough jobs for all. There is always mass unemployment or a mass relative surplus population forced thereby into misery. In the circumstance of capitalism, therefore, the Marxist demand is jobs _or income_ , i.e. welfare . for all. If society systematic does not provide jobs for all, then it must give income without work to those who are unemployed by the system's failure to provide enough jobs. The capitalist lie is that there is mass unemployment because of mass laziness.

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