Here’s one concept I have been thinking about lately… I think the phrase “Taking the edge off” may be summing it up nicely.
Getting rid of extremes is always something that should be considered in any situation. Like the economy for example. Not being an economist I’m probably just stating the obvious (or talking nonsense), but I think that radical free-market-proponents are forgetting that even in a system that tends so stabilize itself there can be fluctuations which might not be acceptable. While the economy will always recover from a serious downturn eventually, individuals might not. Or ecological systems – they might very well survive a major catastrophe like a tsunami or something like an asteroid or an ice age on a bigger scale, but that’s not much of a consolation for many individuals.
Taking the edge off of small and big catastrophes is one of the most important jobs of a government. If it manages to find a good balance, it’ll stay out of the way most of the time, while making sure nobody gets hit too hard.
So when I’m hearing outrage over alleged socialism, calls for unchecked capitalism (usually not that direct) or like I already mentioned, free market evangelism – I’m suspecting that someone keeps forgetting that big part of any population is in constant danger of becoming ill without being able to afford health-care, losing their homes or even not having enough to eat.
Progress should raise the standards of living at the lowest level first. If you have to choose between if a millionaire will have a harder time becoming a billionaire or risk thousands of people not having their basic needs satisfied, the answer should be pretty obvious.