We  must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’… When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy … You begin to ask the question, ‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water?’ … Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problems of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together.
Martin Luther King

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 10:08 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. That’s a very interesting quote about water bills! In microeconomics, they teach that it is property rights which encourage people to ‘take ownership’ of resources and thereby make the best use of them, not harm others with them, protect them, etc. So if someone owns the water, then they distribute it to others on trade… And so on. Not a perfect system. But the other choice is that no one owns the water. That may sound like an anarchist ideal, but in practice (say the microeconomists) no one has any incentive to use it responsibly, and the water is even more rapidly destroyed than without property rights in place.

    So while emotionally we agree with MLK, his ideal is based on an assumption that people are basically good and decent. Property rights are based on the idea borne out much more eloquently by history, which is that people are mostly self-centered opportunists. Fully realized anarchy would require a much higher caliber of human than has yet evolved.

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