Meliorism tarnish remover

Mr. Tuttle suggests that I have tarnished my meliorism by pointing out evidence for the dire employment situation in the United States.  But meliorism is always a matter of perspective.  Yes, the official  count of the unemployed is 13.5 million, and the real number much higher.  But then Foreign Policy publishes this article about over-counting world hunger, and once again the future is so bright I gotta wear shades.



One response to “Meliorism tarnish remover

  1. HDW:
    Now that, my friend, was a nicely musical riposte. Yes, I’m beginning to believe that you might just have the soul of a musician after all.

    Well, you find me arguing with the notion that poverty (and, it might go without saying, the government’s accounting of it) is yet another complicated and, often, miscontrued human problem. Not surprisingly, I’m one of those who believe that most human misery is caused by human stupidity and human avarice.

    That, of course, would have to include the way governments frame the issues and, then, go about trying to solve problems, typically ignoring the fact that they usually helped to create the problem to begin with. But, then, the government is particularly good at breaking people’s legs, developing programs to provide crutches to their victims, and proclaiming their miraculous healing of the lame.

    Not that, when left to our own devices, we can’t handily bugger up our own lives, as the article you cite would seem to suggest. I can’t quibble with that either. A farmer, after all, that feels compelled to house all of his thirteen children (and, presumably, their families) on his cropland, well, what can you say? His priorities are a bit mixed up?

    Still, the government is (merely) the concentrated and focussed attention of many fallible humans. I’ve thought it rather common knowledge that famine, as often as not, results from the disastrous effects of bad, usually corrupt, governance. The misallocation of (presumably scarce) resources is, quite possibly, the “root of all evil”.

    Which, fortunately, brings me to this final point, what I might suggest is the fatal flaw (or indelible tarnish) of meliorism: I can guarantee that human beings will continue to bugger things up and, the more complex the system devised, the more completely buggered up it will become.

    Adam Smith, among others, was brilliant in his recognition of a means of minimizing this sort of damage. And his principles, it must be noted, were specifically geared (or calibrated) to address human fallibility. To the extent that we imagine ourselves (collectively) both smarter and more pure of heart, the more damage we are likely to do.

    But, hey, that’s just me projecting my own corrupt character onto the rest of the planet. Completely unjustified, I’m sure.


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