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Why Welfare?

December 27, 1987

In his Dec. 12 Viewpoint column, "Welfare State Keeps Capitalism Working," Lester C. Thurow claims that the welfare state is an essential ingredient in capitalism. Thurow is confusing capitalism with a mixed economic system.

Capitalism is commonly defined as a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all or most property is privately owned. Thurow's conclusion is that without the welfare state there can be no capitalism is false.

Thurow is championing the cause of government controls and income redistribution. He admits, though, that "there has to be a limit somewhere." I believe that the argument concerning income redistribution should not be how much, but why any?

Capitalism precludes the involvement of government in the economy and to agree that the government should be involved in the economic system subjects us to the whims of whomever is in office.

STEVEN GUILBAULT

Santa Barbara

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