YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

A Human Failure

June 19, 1988

Regarding Allan H. Meltzer's May 29 column, "The 'System' is Still the Problem":

I am sure Prof. Meltzer is a highly educated man and knows more about political economy than I do, but that does not prevent him from being biased--or shortsighted--or both. He asks of the Soviets, "Why do these folk never learn that it is a system failure?" (Shame on the Soviets for not having consulted Meltzer--he could have told them!)

However, I have a question for him: What system does work? Take a good look at ours: alarming homeless problem, rampant drug abuse, high crime rates, unemployment (especially among minorities), gangs, overcrowded jails into which we can never throw enough people, pollution of water and air, toxic waste, too much garbage, sewage overflows, a battered educational system, aging highways and bridges, corruption and ineptitude in government, etc.

Is there anything that works well in our free enterprise system? Banks fail, plants close. It seems that the affluent society has its priorities confused--millions for high-priced war toys but a grudging pittance for human services like medical care or education, unimportant things like that.

I believe any system would work if people were basically good, kind, unselfish and caring, if we all truly tried to do what is best for those around us--but that is not the reality.

What we have here is not a "system" failure, it is a human failure.


North Hollywood

Los Angeles Times Articles