Friday, November 04, 2005

The Unintended Consequence of the Welfare State

France suburban riot is on its 8th day. What we are witnessed is the unintended consequence of the welfare state. The crisis in France, as well as Europe, is not social per se. It is true that the rioters are North African Muslim – but the core of the crisis is economic – not racial or religious. One must keep in mind that most of the rioters are second and third generation immigrants, who should be fully integrated into society in normal circumstance. But French society is not a normal circumstance or has it been for sometime now. France is essentially a welfare state in which the government try to provide for its citizens everything – even things that private individual should provided for themselves. France economy is heavily regulated and its labor is extremely restricted. This results in high employment and a very sluggish economy.

How does the economy have anything to do with ethnic riot? Everything – Employment lead to more interaction outside of one ethnic and social group and bring a particular ethnic group into the social fold through the economic process. High unemployment – even with social safety net such as welfare and entitlement – is disastrous to a society. Employment and economic opportunity is not merely material but spiritual. Imagine large number of idle young men, in ethnic neighborhood, with absolute nothing constructive to do – young men full of vigor and energy. They will find things to do to release their penned up energy. And in poor ethnic ghettoes, those activities are often consisted of nefarious activities – crime, or worse, Islamic fundamentalism. (This is particularly true of Saudi young men – idleness had led many of them toward extremism in a search for meaning in life. Bin Laden and Zarqawi were once such idle young men.)

The riot in French suburbs reveals the flaw in Fabian socialism. It does not take into account the psychology of people. It assumes that by providing the basic subsistence to people, that would be enough to keep them content. People are never content with bare subsistence – especially if it comes in the form of hand out and charity. It degrades them and robs them of their self-esteem. It is a shameful existence. Men need pride from their own labor. Self-reliance brings personal honor and pride – a sense of ownership over one own life. This is why the free market economy is not only an efficient and effective system – it is also a humane and honorable. What is more honorable than self-reliance – a complete control over one own life.


Blogger VietPundit said...

I swear, Minh-Duc, sometimes I feel like you just take the words right out of my mouth! But in a much more articulate way, of course ...
BTW, I'm not telling you how to run your blog, but I think your spam comments problem is so bad now that it's probably time for you to turn on the word-verification feature in Blogger. I hated to inconvenience my commenters, but I had to do so recently. I for one wouldn't mind if you turned that feature on.
Keep up the great blogging!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

A most eloquent post. I've responded here:

"It does not take into account the psychology of people"

2:26 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...


I agree with your assessment, but I would change "economic" to "cultural" -- a quibble perhaps, but we have to take into account the French delusions of superiority. Wherever they went, they left the place worse off -- Algiers, Vietnam, etc.

The English, while often brutal (as have all nations been when far from home) somehow left better structures in place.

To me, the French revolution, bloody, degraded and evil, is the paradigm for French soul. Perhaps if F. Bastiat had lived, France might have worked out a better economic theory... when President Bush said "liberty is transformative" he was directly quoting Bastiat...

No. I don't like the French very much. All cultures think they are special and that is as it should be. France sneers at the rest because it *knows* France is really special...they are masters of the politics of resentment.

BTW, even if their welfare state went away tomorrow, they have no jobs for these immigrants' children -- the immigrants they brought in to run the machines back when they had a manufacturing sector. But they don't anymore and now not only are the immigrants superfluous, they are superfluous at a geometric increase...

Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences in operation!!!

BTW, since Glamour mag awarded Mukhtar Mai "Woman of the Year" and a bunch of money, I've written them to ask if they'll consider manufacturing buttons (like campaign buttons) with her image and the words "Glamour Girl" on the bottom. They could sell them as fund-raisers.

What do you think?


PS I've decided this prize has a lot less baggage than anything the creepy Nobel Committee can hand out. At least she's not in the same group with Carter and Arafat.

5:36 PM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

French Agricultural subsidies have plowed, sown, and fertilized - now comes the harvest which it appears has self-distilled into 1-percenters. Nice work!

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