February 11, 2003
Life, Liberty, and a Linen Shirt

Take it for granted (as I do) that a good society offers everyone the opportunity to make a decent living without undue toil (and without selling one's internal organs for transplants either). What is a "decent living"? Daniel Davies worries this problem like a moral philosopher, and comes up with three conclusions: In late eighteenth-century England, a good society would have offered everyone the right to earn enough to comfortably buy a linen shirt. In early twenty-first century America, a good society does not yet require that one have the right to earn enough to comfortably afford a cable mode. But just you wait: by 2010 (if Kim Jong Il does not blow the place up) in South Korea anyone who does not earn enough to comfortably afford DSL will be indecently poor. D-squared Digest -- A fat young man without a good word for anyone: ...My view on the subject of what constitutes a decent living goes right back to Adam Smith, whose views on the subject are not so well known, but exemplify the strand of humanity and sound common sense which has been so thoroughly ignored in his writing ever since he coined that phrase about the...

Posted by DeLong at 06:33 PM