Recently, I’ve been struggling wondering what things are comforts and what are considered necessities.
In our capitalist society, many advances have been made in nearly every facet of our lives. We have cures for diseases that couldn’t have been imagined 100 years ago. We have vehicles, clothes, computers, air conditioning, clean water. So many things that were amazing just a century ago have become completely common place in American society.
It makes me wonder, what things in life should we consider essentials to existance and what is too much? We talk about giving the poor things that are essential in life, but what makes something essential. Just by existing, does a person have a right to the most sophisticated health care possible? Do they have a right to perfectly pure water? Does everyone have a right to a certain standard of living?
This troubles me because I hear a lot from the social justice crowd (of which I consider myself a part) about giving people free medical care, free housing, etc, through the government. The reason our standard of living is what it is is because of capitalism. Were there not a capitalism system, likely the advances that have occured would not have come to fruition. So what do we do in response to that? In the first century, did everyone have pure drinking water? Did they all have access to the best medical care? The best medical care in the 1st century was probably little more than first aid that we have today.
I guess I’m full of more questions than answers at this time. In reality, we don’t need much for survival. A set of clothes. Some place to sleep. Food. What makes something beyond that a need for the poor, or a need for anyone? The poor in this country have a much better standard of living than the vast majority of people in the world. How do we determine what poverty is and where to send our moneys? When we give a poor person in this country a better house, are we not in essence making the rich richer and the poor poorer?
I don’t know. Life is weird. And I can’t seem to find easy clear cut answers. Anyone smarter than me have some ideas?