The title is the first of two questions that have been been bouncing around in my head for a few months now. It has to do with a comment made by Jesus. Here’s how it was recorded in The Gospel of St. Mark:
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good…” (KJV)
What if Jesus was right and we can count on there always being “the poor” in every human society? Certainly communism failed in its promise of eradicating poverty. Capitalism hasn’t been a cure. The grand bargain to “end welfare as we know it” neither ended welfare nor the poverty that made such assistance necessary.
And yet, our systems of social care are based on the idea that such aid will be temporary. In that regard, they are almost all utopian. Jesus’ statement is decidedly anti-utopian. What if we embraced his prediction of the ultimate intractability of poverty alongside his call to care for those in need?
That is my second question, which I’m still pondering. So I would like to hear your feedback.
- What should our welfare system look like if we were to base it on these propositions: that there will always be poverty and that we should do what we can when we can to help those in need?
- What parts of the existing welfare state should we then do away with?
- What parts should be augmented?
- What new programs should we develop?
Share your comments here, on Facebook, or via email and I’ll address them and more in a later post.