“Your Brother’s Keeper: From Genesis to Galbraith” by F.A. Harper – Imprimis, January 1973

A series of short posts summarizing my thoughts as I work my way through the archives of the Imprimis newsletter from Hillsdale college.

Dr. Harper’s article examines our obligation to be charitable from Genesis to Galbraith. If you can get past poor use of Biblical texts you will find some helpful thoughts regarding charity. Here are a few of the points he makes.

  • We can only give what has been produced. Therefore production is the source of all giving.
  • If the producer gives $1 directly to the recipient, the recipient receives $1. In order for the federal government to give the same dollar they must first obtain $3 from sources of production.
  • Who defines what charity is? Is charity giving a man a meal or teaching a man to fish?
  • The best method to reduce poverty is to increase production. This is most easily achieved by allowing companies to reinvest resources back into production instead of confiscating it and giving only a third of it to the benefactor.
  • The one who produces should be the one to direct its fate.
  • Who defines the ‘needy’? Is a necessity ‘something you have to have, or you die’?

If you wondering who Galbraith is read here.


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