Benefits, Compensation, and Sado-altruism

Debates over benefits often illustrate the hegemony of capitalist ideas. The entire debate happens within the bounds of a class-based viewpoint.

Typically the debate is between those who say that “we” (who’s ‘we’, paleface?) have a duty of benevolence to those who are “unable to provide for themselves”, out of our charity and kindness, as a mark of our ‘civilised’ society, and those who disagree, or feel that although, yes, we should show such kindness, the poor – especially those who have the temerity to not even seek work (i.e. who usurp the right of idleness that belongs only to those with sufficient wealth) – really ought to be properly grateful, and if they don’t show appropriately industrious gratitude, it’s foolish of “us” to keep providing for them.

This whole debate takes place in a fantasy land. Let’s take the phrase “unable”. These people need “our” help because they are “unable to provide for themselves”. And people shouldn’t give birth to children who they are “unable to look after”. What does this mean?

Read the rest of this entry »