… is from David Hart’s excellent October 4th, 2018, essay, “The Problem of Terminology: Why ‘Capitalism’?” (available here):
When one gets anguished over the poor conditions faced by some people at any given stage of economic and historical development, one is obliged to ask two fundamental questions: compared to what and why were they poor in the first place?
DBx: Indeed so. Everyone this side of sociopathy feels genuine sympathy and sadness for fellow human beings whose lives are, by the standards of the day, unusually difficult and materially and spiritually deprived. But feeling such sympathy and sadness does not imply the existence of practical and likely-to-work policies, implemented by the state, to remedy the perceived problems. Unfortunately, given that so many people regard the state as possessing near-god-like knowledge and power, this false implication is too often drawn.