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Richard Ebeling shares the surprising history of the welfare state. A slice:

How pervasive was such [private] philanthropy and charity? William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882), one of the leading British economists of the second half of the 19th century, and one of the developers of marginal utility theory, called for the end to private charity and its replacement with a full government system. This was not due to the paucity of private benevolence, but rather due to what he considered its excessive generosity.

At a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in September 1870, Jevons criticize the open-handedness of the wealthy and better off in voluntarily helping the poor through various philanthropic endeavors. Private charity was creating a class of permanent poor, he said, which resulted in “the casual paupers [having] their London season and their country season, following the movements of those on whom they feed.”

Megan McArdle argues that reality isn’t optional, even for gig contractors in California. A slice:

But the flexibility that makes Uber and Lyft so appealing to drivers — most ride-share drivers are using the services as a part-time gig they can schedule around their regular obligations — is possible only because of the current compensation structure, which pays per ride. If Uber and Lyft have to pay you $15 an hour whether or not you carry any passengers … let us just say that the interests of company and driver suddenly diverge rather sharply.

Williams College philosophy professor Steven Gerrard laments the rise of the “comfort college.” (HT Mark Perry)

Mark Perry finds reason to be more upbeat than is the typical pundit about newly released economic data on American incomes.

Michael Huemer debunks a popular myth about epistemic humility, justice, and law. (HT David Levey) (I do wish, though, that Huemer would have made more of the important distinction – emphasized, for example, by Bruno Leoni – between legislation and law; the former is categorically different from the latter.)

Federal government spending in the U.S. tops $5 trillion.

Kai Weiss explains what F.A. Hayek can teach democratic socialists.

John Phelan unpacks some of the grotesque errors that mar the “scholarship” that ties capitalism to slavery. He concludes, correctly, by describing the work of people such as Ed Baptist and Matthew Desmond as “a disgrace to the history profession.”