I was hoping that my solution to Keynes ́ problem would make you more optimistic. You seem so discouraged lately.
Even if we are motivated by love, we need a plan that will work. I would claim that in principle none of the economic plans on offer are in principle workable. The challenge is to build a culture of caring and sharing, not to find the right economic model.
This solution to Keynes’ problem does not require everybody to agree. In our neighbourhood just six of us have been able to assure that nobody went hungry or had their utilities shut off because they could not pay the bill, or lacked inexpensive medicines during the last ten years. We worked on dignity and respect, not just on food. Our biggest failure was that we never quite figured out how to get accurate information; we never really knew who was telling the truth although we got better at it with time. The city government would not share information with us because what they knew was legally confidential.
Only six people worked on this. Three of us gave virtually all the money, and it really did not take a lot of money. Three other volunteers helped run it. One made empanadas for the poor for holidays. About 200 people live here. About 15 are indigent alcoholics who get occasional work. At any given time, there may be about 3 non alcoholics who need help. There is one single mom with four little kids. Right now most of what we did is not necessary because the city has increased aid because of the pandemic. We still pick up loose ends, and we are supporting an olla comun in another town. That is an old custom of cooking and eating together, sharing food, when food is short.
The Chilean welfare state covers a lot of things, like basic medical expenses, which helps. Caroline and I ourselves have gotten a lot of free health care. About 15 are indigent alcoholics who get occasional work. At any given time, there are about 3 non alcoholics who need help. There is one single mom with four little kids Apart from our program there is a tradition of neighbour helping neighbour that I think we helped revive, but maybe we had no effect and it just continued the same as ever.
But most people, especially most prosperous people, did not participate at all They were not needed. Whether they were for it or against it did not matter.
I am advising a thesis in economics at a local university trying to get some quantitative estimates of how social demands could be met in Chile and where the resources could come from. Another student with a different adviser is working on the feasibility of taxiing the rich. A third on the history of how the political elite and the very rich have shifted the burden of social spending to the middle class. All this is in a context where Chile is writing a new constitution.
My paper was mostly abstract because I had little space and wanted to show a solution to a problem that has gone unsolved for many years. But there are zillions of practical applications.
Keynes solution neighbourhood example