Overview and Instructions ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below. In this case analysis you have five tasks: 1. Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.

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Overview and Instructions

ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below.

In this case analysis you have five tasks:

1.     Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.

2.     Give a thorough, philosophical exegesis of the relevant aspects of Walzer’s and Murray’s arguments. (Click here for some tips on how to do a successful exegesis.)

3.     Present an argument applying the relevant philosophers to the case at hand. This should include an argument justifying who each philosopher would give the welfare to and why.

4.     Present an argument explaining why one of the philosophers can be viewed as offering a more successful solution to the case at hand.

5.     In no more than one paragraph, explain what solution you would propose for Rebecca and Jimmy.


Consider Rebecca, a single mother of 4 who has been a long-term welfare recipient.  Rebecca is a weekend meth user who often spends her money on meth.  However, without her welfare money, her children would not have any food or medical treatment and would most likely be placed in foster homes where their lives could go worse than they currently are. Rebecca’s yearly welfare application is due.

Now consider Jimmy, a veteran of both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  During the battle, Jimmy was wounded and now suffers from some moderate physical disability and post-traumatic stress.  Sadly, although Jimmy tried to find a job, there weren’t many systems in place to help him re-integrate or work through his issues.  Each day Jimmy begs for money at his local off-ramp.  Through no fault of his own, Jimmy has fallen through the proverbial cracks. Jimmy applies for welfare.


You are the welfare overseer.  At most one person can get welfare. You can make ONE of the following three decisions:

1.     Give the welfare only to Rebecca

2.     Give the welfare only Jimmy

3.     Don’t give any welfare

Case Analysis Structure Overview

1.     Explain the case at hand back in your own words.

o   This should be no more than one paragraph.  It’s just a quick summary so I know how you’re understanding the case.

2.     Explain the theories of the two philosophers that are assigned in that particular week.

o   This should be where you show that you understand the arguments of the philosophers that are covered in a particular topic.  So if you’re writing on the Welfare Case Analysis, you’d explain the arguments of Walzer and Murray.

o   This should be completely neutral — just a succinct presentation of the arguments that isn’t influenced by or that mentions the case.

o   This should be at least two paragraphs, and probably more like four.

3.     Present an argument applying the philosophers’s arguments to the case at hand.

o   Here you should take the work you did in task two and apply that to the story.  So if you were writing on Welfare, you might say that Walzer’s theory would give the aide to person X because of reason Y and then justify that.  You’d then do the same with Murray.

o   This should be at least two paragraphs, and could easily be four.

4.     Present an argument explaining why one philosopher has a better solution to the case at hand.

o   Do to this you need to explain what you think a successful solution to the case would demonstrate and then show hoe one of the philosophers does this better than the other.

o   This should be two paragraphs.

5.     Explain what you would do and why.

o   This should be exactly one paragraph.

Overview and Instructions ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below. In this case analysis you have five tasks: 1. Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.
Here is a former student’s Welfare Forum post. It’s a good sample. The student found an interesting Op-Ed piece, gave a brief analysis of the piece, and applied the same concepts from Murray and Walzer. HereLinks to an external site. is the original article associated with this sample “The End of Welfare as we know it”  In the article, it gives the consequences of ending welfare to families and individuals in need of welfare. As of 2016, the motion to get rid of welfare is looking to be successful as many people are already losing their welfare. I agree that there should be a time limit to how long a person can use welfare when they are out of work and not volunteering because in my opinion, as an individual, you need to be actively working to better yourself. However, for state-by-state governments, there needs to be a more directed way to spend money on their welfare. By that, I mean that the government should analyze what the people in the state need most and act accordingly.  The numbers of those who have to drop welfare in the articles are astonishing. For example, the article states that in Arkansas, the number of welfare recipients went from 63,000 in 1995 to 9,901 in 2015. The article delves into different states and the status of welfare recipients in their respective states. Many of the government believe that those who can’t find a job; can always volunteer to receive welfare. But for some states, the volunteer places may require travel fees, work equipment, etc, all of which would require money. The states need to analyze what the people need most and act accordingly by distributing the money of welfare or increasing the time limit.  Murray would agree with the decisions of the state to start to create a stronger limit on welfare; however, he would advocate for the removal of welfare for the same reason. Though, the states seem to be unable to completely remove welfare; the states want to head in that direction as the amount of those receiving less welfare looks appealing. Murray observes the time limit would help lessen the net harm that he writes about in Law 3. However, Walzer would argue that there needs to be a membership made by the exchange of welfare for those in need. If Walzer were to look at the piece he would argue with the state that they have a moral right to help those who are starving and stop creating a time limit that may leave many starving people. 
Overview and Instructions ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below. In this case analysis you have five tasks: 1. Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.
Notes on Murray Murray – from Losing Ground   Laws of Social Programs Even though these aren’t codified laws, they are things that happen so predictably as social transfer programs that they might as well be laws.   Law 1: The Law of Imperfect Selection: Any objective rule that defines eligibility for a social transfer program will irrationally exclude some persons. Whether it be food stamps or Medicaid, there will always be some people who get it who shouldn’t and some be who shouldn’t get it who do. This isn’t the fault of the law writers, it’s a natural outcome of the application of these kinds of policies. Since we have more concern for those who need the service but aren’t receiving it, we begin to write the policy more and more broadly to include as many needy cases as possible. But since we can’t perfectly and objectively quantify true need, lots of “less-than-needy” people get the benefit. So we have constantly broadening target populations. What does he mean when he states that there doesn’t seem to be a moral cost associated with this?   Law 2: The Law of Unintended Rewards: Any social transfer increases the net value of being in the condition that prompted the transfer. These programs give you more benefits or rewards when you are worse off. So they seem to be inadvertently rewarding the “bad” situations or behaviors. The “net value” Some people are in need completely involuntarily, and their conditions are so bad that there really isn’t a net gain. The case of the paraplegic receiving Medicaid or the poor children in the Head Start program. What about the middle-aged worker who loses his job and desperately wants to work again? He gets unemployment insurance If the only job he can get would require that he moves and he doesn’t want to move, the UI means that he can be choosy about which job he takes. There is a continuum of the degree of voluntariness in the conditions that social policy seeks to change or make less painful (486) He uses the example of free and open access job training to show this point. The people who use it and stick with it aren’t really the hard-core cases. How can we get more hard-core unemployed into the program? We can’t force them. Maybe they keep losing jobs because of job-preparedness issues. So we implement programs and incentives for employers to hire and mentor these people. But now the hard-core group is being rewarded more: they get more help and their employers accept less productivity. “He can get away with behavior that an ordinary worker cannot get away with.”(487) So there is a reward for unproductive behavior. How does the chronically unemployed drug addict example further make this point?   Law 3: The Law of Net Harm: The less likely it is that the unwanted behavior will change voluntarily, the more likely it is that program to induce change will cause net harm. All social programs have an unintended reward for being in the program. They change behavior is two ways: 1) Induce participation of those who are intended to benefit 2) Produce the desired change Compelling people to participate in social programs has to be done almost entirely with “carrot” incentives. Murray objects to this from a practical perspective: 1) It will lead to low success rates M claims that negative reinforcements change ingrained behavior better. 2) If there are large inducements, then people who don’t really need/want the help will start pursuing it. If the hardcore unemployed can automatically earn three times the minimum wage, then lots of people would want to be in that group. Theoretical Concern If there are such great benefits to the program, then lots of people will harm themselves so that they are eligible for the program   A Proposal for Public Welfare Murray has a solution that would fix all the problems with welfare (note: this is hypothetical): Get rid of the entire federal welfare and income-support structure for working-aged persons, including AFDC, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, subsidized housing, disability insurance, etc. Working- aged people would either have to get a job or rely on charity. What would this society look like? For most of us, nothing would change, until we start drawing on social security. Another group may be technically affected, but they wouldn’t really notice any difference in income. The third group would be affected, adult children who live with their parents, the teenage mother, the deadbeat dad, and may affect the rest of us. This would lead to changes in behavior, as people become less likely to extend help to friends and family members and people become more responsible for the choices they make. There would be many advantages. What are some examples he gives? In short, being a dependent will become incredibly undesirable. The working poor will no longer be made fun of. What about the 4th group? Those who are legitimately destitute with no friends or family to turn to? Have a network of local services. These could be funded by local taxpayers and philanthropists who now have a lot more money to spend or donate. The main reason people fall through the cracks is because they are temporarily unemployed. So we add back the existing Unemployment Insurance program. Even with the flaws it has, it has a relatively minor cost. Now we have the last group: the hard-core welfare dependent. The have no jobs, or at least are jobless for longer than unemployment insurance covers, they have no friends, no family and don’t get help from local charities. Imagine the unemployed, uneducated, unmarried single mother. Mother A) Wants help finding a job and getting daycare. We usually view her as the deserving poor. Mother B) She wants a grant so that she can stay home with her children and not work. Is this really that bad? Why would we allow a local welfare, AFDC, or food stamps program if the federal program was so bad? There is more freedom of choice at the local level. There is more freedom of participation and there is more freedom (ease) to change “bad” laws. There can also be more specification. Diversity: what works in one community may not work in another community, How many people will fall through the cracks? Murray starts off by saying that the benefits would outweigh the harms, but then gives a specific thought experiment that’s supposed to pump our intuition that a system which encourages cyclical welfare dependence is worse than a system that may have more intermittent welfare. What’s the thought experiment?   The Ideal of Opportunity America has long held the idea of equality of opportunity, but it never focused on outcomes. The government has been bad at identifying merit and worth, but it can create a society where the worthy can identify themselves. Murray’s Social Triage Let the “treatable” identify themselves. A person has a right to try, and society has a right to let him or her fail. Inherent respect for persons: Each person is responsible for his or her future. People may fail, but can choose to try again. This is basically the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and see how far you can get” mentality. Let’s let people make their own decisions about their futures.
Overview and Instructions ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below. In this case analysis you have five tasks: 1. Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.
Murray’s “The Constraints on Helping” “The Constraints on Helping”  by Charles Murray Source: Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980 (1984). There are laws that explain why social programs not only do not but cannot produce the intended effects. Let me pose a problem in the form that Einstein used to call a “thought experiment.” Whereas Einstein used the device to imagine such things as the view from the head of a column of light, we will use it for the more pedestrian purpose of imagining the view from the office of a middle-echelon bureaucrat. Our task: tO think through how to structure a specific government social-action program so that it might reasonably be expected to accomplish net good. The experiment calls for us to put ourselves in the role of a government planner who must implement a new piece of legislation, The Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Act. The Act has several provisions common to the genre. It establishes a federal agency to coordinate the federal government’s activities related to the goal of less smoking. A large anti-smoking advertising campaign is planned. Federal matching funds are provided for school systems that teach courses on the perils of smoking. In addition to these initiatives, the legislation provides for direct, concrete incentives for people to quit smoking. A billion dollars will be appropriated annually for the indefinite future, to be used for cash rewards to persons who quit. We are in charge of designing this effort, with complete freedom to specify whatever rules we wish, provided they are consistent with constitutional rights. After five years an evaluation will be conducted to determine whether the number of cigarettes consumed and the number of smokers have been reduced by the program. The challenge in this experiment is to use the $1 billion in a way that (in our own best estimate) will meet this test. My proposition is that we cannot do so: that any program we design will either (1) have no effect on smoking or (2) actually increase smoking. I maintain that we are helpless to use the billion dollars to achieve our goal. The heart of the problem is designing a reward that will induce smokers to quit—and will not induce others to begin smoking, continue smoking, or increase their smoking to become eligible to receive the reward. Let us work through one scenario to illustrate the nature of the conundrum. Designing the Program Three sets of choices will decisively affect the success or failure of the program: choices about the size of the reward, conditions for receiving the reward, and eligibility to participate in the program. What is a first approximation of a program that has a good chance of working? Choosing the size of the reward. We know from the outset that the reward cannot be small. No one will quit smoking for pocket change, other than those who were going to quit anyway. On the other hand, the theoretical power of a cash reward is plausible—almost anyone would become and remain a nonsmoker in return for a million dollars. We settle on the sum of $10,000 as a reward that is an extremely powerful inducement to large numbers of persons. Conditions for receiving the reward. We seek a middle ground between conditions that maximize the likelihood that a person has permanently quit smoking and conditions that make the reward so difficult to win that few will bother. Thus, for example, we reject plans that would spread the reward over several years. Eventually we decide to require that a person must remain smoke-free for one year. We make the award a one- time prize, so that people have no incentive to recommence smoking to qualify for another $10,000. A repayment scheme is added: People who begin smoking again will have to give up their award. Eligibility to participate. The intent of the program is to appeal to the heavy smoker whose health is most at risk. On the other hand, it would defeat our purpose to limit eligibility too severely—to persons, for example, who have smoked three packs a day for twenty years—because in so doing we would disqualify many people in the vulnerable group of moderate smokers who are likely to become heavy lifelong smokers unless something is done. The compromise solution we reach is to require that a person have smoked at least one pack a day for five years. Now let us consider the results. After one year: We think ahead a year, and are pleased. The $10,000 reward has substantial effects on the people who are eligible for the program on day one—that is, persons who have smoked at least a pack a day for five years at the time the experiment begins. The effect is not unfailing; not everyone quits smoking to get the reward; and we must assume that not everyone who stops for a year is able to avoid a relapse. Some cheating occurs despite our precautions. But some people quit smoking permanently as a direct result of the program. We recognize, of course, that we achieve the effect inefficiently. Thousands of persons in the target population quit smoking every year even in the absence of a monetary reward. Under the program, they collect money for doing what they would have done anyway. But the problem posed in our thought experiment says nothing about being efficient; the problem is only to create a program that reduces net smoking. After two years: We think ahead two years, and are disturbed. For now comes time to examine the effects of the program on people who have been smoking a Pack a day but for a period of less than five years when the program begins. We find that for all persons who have been smoking less than the required period of time, the program provides a payment to continue. For the person who has been smoking for exactly four years, the payment is $10,000 in return for smoking for one more year. Given that the smoking habit has its own attractions, the payment is exceedingly effective. In fact, we notice an unfortunate imbalance: For the person who has already smoked for five years (our target population), the inducement of $10,000 to quit must fight against the attractions of smoking and is not always adequate to achieve the desired result. For the smoker who has not reached this limit, the inducement to continue smoking is reinforced by those very attractions. Thus the effective power of $10,000 to induce continued smoking for one year in the one population is much greater than its power to induce cessation of smoking for one year in the other. To this point, we have been concerned only with those who were already smoking at the pack-a-day level. Now we consider the effects of the program on smokers who had been smoking less than that amount. We find that a significant number of smokers increase their consumption to a pack a day, for the same reason. (Everyone who smokes nineteen cigarettes a day increases to twenty, almost everyone who smokes eighteen cigarettes a day increases to twenty, and so on.) This effect is strongest among those persons who think they “should” quit but who doubt their ability to quit without help. For them—through a process of plausible but destructive logic—it seems that the best way to do what they think they want to do (to quit smoking) is to smoke more. Among those who are nonsmokers, the effects are entirely negative. A considerable number of teenagers who were wavering between starting or not starting to smoke decide in favor of smoking—they can enjoy smoking now, and then give it up when they qualify for the reward. After five years: When we think ahead five years, we note a final logical by-product of the program. Quitting the habit after five years of smoking a pack a day is generally more difficult than quitting sooner and after lesser levels of smoking. Many people who try to stop when the fifth year is ended find that the $10,000 is no longer a sufficient inducement, though it may have seemed to them a few years earlier that it would be. The rules of the program have made heavy smokers out of people who would have remained light smokers and thereby have induced a certain number of people not only to smoke more and longer until they became eligible for the $10,000 but to become impervious to the effects of the reward once they do become eligible. What is the net outcome? If 90 percent of the population had been smoking for five years when the program began, we might still argue that the program would show a net reduction in smoking. But only about 15 percent of the adult population smokes a pack a day or more. Let us estimate that a third of this number have been smoking at that rate for more than five years. If so, our plan has the potential for reducing smoking among five percent of the adult population and the potential for increasing smoking among 95 percent of the adult population. It is exceedingly difficult to attach numbers to the considerations we have just reviewed without coming to the conclusion that the program as specified would have the net effect of increasing both the number of cigarettes consumed and the number of smokers. Back to Square One When we reconsider the three parameters and try to select a combination that meets the challenge, the nature of their interdependence becomes clear. Suppose, for example, that we require a smoking history of at least ten years, and thereby, as intended, reduce the number of persons who are drawn into smoking just because of the reward. But such a step makes no difference in the calculations of those who have already been smoking more than five years (they are, in effect, operating under the logic of a five-year eligibility rule). Among those who have smoked less than five years, the change in the eligibility requirement has two counterproductive effects. First, persons who have smoked less than five years constitute a large proportion of smokers that the program should be reaching—younger, with more to gain from quitting. By extending the requirement to ten years, the program has been made irrelevant to many of them. For those who do think that far ahead, the effects will tend to be harmful, inducing a sense that there will be time to quit—and profit to be made—at a later point in their lives. Thus lengthening the eligibility period to ten years does not help; it makes matters worse. As we ponder ways out of this bind, it becomes clear that the most dramatic reductions in smoking occur among persons who quit the soonest—a person who quits smoking at age sixty-five saves only a few years’ worth of smoking, whereas a person who quits at twenty saves decades. Why not focus our efforts among the very young? Even granting the tendency of the award to encourage smoking so as to qualify, perhaps this will be more than counterbalanced by the very long periods of “savings” that will result from each success. So we target the program at youth (perhaps by installing an age-eligibility criterion—the specific method makes no difference). But the results are even more disastrous. The qualification criteria must be loose, because only a tiny fraction of the teenaged smokers we want to reach have had time to smoke very long. The result, when combined with a significant reward for quitting, is that the inducement effect is overpowering. Even teenagers who have no desire to smoke at all find it worth inculcating the habit for a year (or whatever our time limit is reduced to). Once started, only a proportion of those who smoked only because the program existed and who fully intended to quit are actually able to quit. The age effect backfires: While it is true that inducing a youngster to quit (who otherwise would not have quit) saves decades of smoking, it is equally true that inducing a youngster to start costs decades of smoking, and we produce far more of the latter than the former. Two Ways Out We give up on a continuing program, instead, we propose that the program be made a one-time, never-to-be-repeated offer: Announce the program, give everyone who is already eligible a chance to enroll, but give no one a reason to start smoking or to increase their smoking in order to become eligible. State loudly and unequivocally that the program will never be repeated. We will at least achieve the success of the first year. Theoretically, this scheme might (but only might) reduce net smoking. In practice, it is guaranteed that the program will be continued. A successful one-time effort will be refunded immediately and on a larger scale. Congress rarely cancels even a failed social program, let alone a successful one. Ultimately, the logic of the situation drives us to the one configuration of awards that surely will reduce net smoking: we offer a dollar amount to everyone who does not smoke, but make them pay it back if they ever start. Since this will cost far more than a billion dollars a year, we seek permission to increase the budget, pointing out that, while it may be expensive, our way out will in fact reduce smoking, whereas the alternatives will not. But some unfriendly critic points out that all we need do is levy a fine on everyone who begins smoking (or who continues to smoke)that is equal to the reward we propose to offer for not starting. The effects on smoking will be essentially the same (a $10,000 penalty ought to have about as much effect as a $10,000 reward for persons at most income levels), and the government will get a lot of revenue to boot. This proposal is of course also rejected, on grounds that it is unfair to the poor. As one experiments with different combinations of rules, it becomes apparent that the traps we encounter in the first approximations are generalizable. Any change in the parameters intended to reduce one problem raises a new one. Why should this be? Is it intrinsic to the process? Or is it a peculiarity of an example I carefully chose? Laws of Social Programs: We cannot design programs that escape their influence. At first glance, the smoking example seems most apt for a certain type of social program, the one that seeks to change behavior from X to Y—what might be called “remedial” social programs. But in fact it applies to transfer programs of all types. In all cases, the transfer is legitimized by the recipient’s being in a certain condition (whether smoking or poverty) that the government would prefer the recipient not be in. The burden of the smoking example is not that we failed to reduce smoking—to achieve the desired behavioral change—but that we increased the number of people who end up in the undesired condition. This charge applies to transfers in general. The reasons why are not idiosyncratic. Let me suggest some characteristics we observed in the thought experiment that occur so widely and for such embedded reasons that they suggest laws. That is, no matter how ingenious the design of a social transfer program may be, we cannot—in a free society—design programs that escape their influence. Together, they account for much of the impasse we observe in the anti-smoking example and point to some important principles for designing social programs that work. • #1. The Law of Imperfect Selection. Any objective rule that defines eligibility for a social transfer program will irrationally exclude some persons. It can always be demonstrated that some persons who are excluded from the Food Stamps program are in “greater need” than some persons who receive Food Stamps. It can always be demonstrated that someone who is technically ineligible for Medicaid really “ought” to be receiving it, given the intent of the legislation. These inequities, which are observed everywhere, are not the fault of inept writers of eligibility rules, but an inescapable outcome of the task of rule-writing. Eligibility rules must convert the concept of “true need” into objectified elements. The rules constructed from these bits and pieces are necessarily subject to what Herbert Costner has called “epistemic error”—the inevitable gap between quantified measures and the concept they are intended to capture. We have no way of defining “truly needy” precisely—not those who truly need to stop smoking, nor those truly in need of college scholarships or subsidized loans or disability insurance. Any criterion we specify will inevitably include a range of people, some of whom are unequivocally the people we intended to help, others of whom are less so, and still others of whom meet the letter of the eligibility requirement but are much less needy than some persons who do not. Social welfare policy in earlier times tended to deal with this problem by erring in the direction of exclusion—better to deny help to some truly needy persons than to let a few slackers slip through. Such attitudes depended, however, on the assumption that the greater good was being served. Moral precepts had to be upheld. Whenever a person was inappropriately given help, it was bad for the recipient (undermining his character) and a bad example to the community at large. When that assumption is weakened or dispensed with altogether, it follows naturally that the Law of Imperfect Selection leads to programs with constantly broadening target populations. If persons are not to blame for their plight, no real harm is done by giving them help they do not fully “need.” No moral cost is incurred by permitting some undeserving into the program. A moral cost is incurred by excluding a deserving person. No one has a scalpel sharp enough to excise only the undeserving. Therefore it is not just a matter of political expedience to add a new layer to the eligible population rather than to subtract one (though that is often a factor in the actual decision-making process). It is also the morally correct thing to do, given the premises of the argument. • #2. The Law of Unintended Rewards. Any social transfer increases the net value of being in the condition that prompted the transfer. A deficiency is observed—too little money, too little food, too little academic achievement—and a social transfer program tries to fill the gap—with a welfare payment, Food Stamps, a compensatory education program. An unwanted behavior is observed—drug addiction, crime, unemployability—and the program tries to change that behavior to some other, better behavior—through a drug rehabilitation program, psychotherapy, vocational training. In each case, the program, however unintentionally, must be constructed in such a way that it increases the net value of being in the condition that it seeks to change—either by increasing the rewards or by reducing the penalties. For some people in some circumstances, it is absurd to think in terms of “net value,” because they so clearly have no choice at all about the fix they are in or because the net value is still less desirable than virtually any alternative. Paraplegics receiving Medicaid cannot easily be seen as “rewarded” for becoming paraplegics by the existence of free medical care. Poor children in Head Start cannot be seen as rewarded for being poor. Persons who are in the unwanted condition completely involuntarily are not affected by the existence of the reward. But the number of such pure examples is very small. The paraplegic anchors one end of the continuum labeled “Degree of Voluntarism in the Conditions that Social Policy Seeks to Change or Make Less Painful.” The apparent unattractiveness of most of the conditions that social policy seeks to change must not obscure the continuum involved. No one chooses to be a paraplegic, and perhaps no one chooses to be a heroin addict. But the distinction remains: very few heroin addicts developed their addiction by being tied down and forcibly injected with heroin. They may not have chosen to become addicts, but they did choose initially to take heroin. Let us consider the implications in terms of the archetypical social program for helping the chronic unemployed escape their condition, the job-training program. Imagine that a program is begun that has the most basic and benign inducement of all, the chance to learn a marketable skill. It is open to everybody. By opening it to all, we have circumvented (for the time being) the Law of Unintended Rewards. All may obtain the training, no matter what their job history, so no unintended reward is being given for the condition of chronic unemployment. On assessing the results, we observe that the ones who enter the program, stick with it, and learn a skill include very few of the hard-core unemployed whom we most wanted to help. The typical “success”stories from our training program are persons with a history of steady employment who wanted to upgrade their earning power. This is admirable. But what about the hardcore unemployed? A considerable number entered the program, but almost all of them dropped out or failed to get jobs once they left. Only a small proportion used the training opportunity as we had hoped. The problem of the hard-core unemployed remains essentially unchanged. We may continue to circumvent the Law of Unintended Rewards. All we need do is continue the job-training program unchanged. It will still be there, still available to all who want to enroll, but we will do nothing to entice participation. The alternative is to do something to get more of the hardcore unemployed into the program, and to improve the content so that more of them profit from the training. And once this alternative is taken, the program planner is caught in the trap of unintended rewards. Because we cannot “draft” people into the program or otherwise coerce their participation, our only alternative is to make it more attractive by changing the rules a bit. Suppose, for example, we find that the reason many did not profit from the earlier program was that they got fired from (or quit) their new jobs within a few days of getting them, and that the reason they did so had to do with the job-readiness problem. The ex-trainee was late getting to work, the boss complained, the ex-trainee reacted angrily and was fired. We observe this to be a common pattern. We know the problem is not that the ex- trainee is lazy or unmotivated, but that he has never been socialized into the discipline of the workplace. He needs more time, more help, more patience than other workers until he develops the needed work habits. Suppose that we try to compensate-for example, by placing our trainees with employers who are being subsidized to hire such persons. The employer accepts lower productivity and other problems in return for a payment to do so (such plans have been tried frequently, with mixed results). Given identical work at identical pay, the ex-trainee is being rewarded for his “credential” of hardcore unemployment. He can get away with behavior that an ordinary worker cannot get away with. May we still assume that the program is making progress in preparing its trainees for the real-world marketplace? Will the hardcore unemployed modify their unreliable behavior? What will be the effect on morale and self-esteem among those trainees who were succeeding in the program before the change of rules? It is tempting to conclude that the program has already ceased to function effectively for anyone anymore, that the change in rules has done more harm than good. But my proposition is for the moment a more restricted one: The reward for unproductive behavior (both past and present) now exists. What of the case of a drug addict who is chronically unemployed because (let us assume) of the addiction? It might seem that the unintended reward in such a case is innocuous; it consists of measures to relieve the addict of his addiction, measures for which the nonaddict will have no need or use. If we were dealing with an involuntary disability—our paraplegic again—the argument would be valid. But in the case of drug addiction (or any other behavior that has its rewards), a painless cure generally increases the attractiveness of the behavior. Imagine, for example, a pill that instantly and painlessly relieved dependence on heroin, and the subsequent effects on heroin use. Thus we are faced with the problem we observed in the thought experiment. The program that seeks to change behavior must offer an inducement that unavoidably either adds to the attraction of, or reduces the penalties of engaging in, the behavior in question. We are now ready to tackle the question of when a social program can reasonably be expected to accomplish net good and when it can reasonably be expected to produce net harm. Again let us think in terms of a continuum. All social programs, I have argued, provide an unintended reward for being in the condition that the program is trying to change or make more tolerable. But some of these unintended rewards are so small that they are of little practical importance. Why then can we not simply bring a bit of care to the design of such programs, making sure that the unintended reward is always small? The reason we are not free to do so lies in the third law of social programs: • #3, The Law of Net Harm. The less likely it is that the unwanted behavior will change voluntarily, the more likely it is that a program to induce change will cause net harm. A social program that seeks to change behavior must do two things. It must induce participation by the persons who are to benefit, as described under the Law of Unintended Rewards. Then it must actually produce the desired change in behavior. It must succeed, and success depends crucially on one factor above all others: the price that the participant is willing to pay. The more that the individual is willing to accept whatever needs to be done in order to achieve the desired state of affairs, the broader the discretion of the program designers. Thus, expensive health resorts can withhold food from their guests, hospitals can demand that their interns work inhuman schedules, and elite volunteer units in the armed forces can ask their trainees to take risks in training exercises that seem (to the rest of us) suicidal. Such programs need offer no inducement at all except the “thing in itself” that is the raison d’être of the program—a shapelier body, a career as a physician, membership in the elite military unit. Similarly, the drug addict who is prepared to sign over to a program a great deal of control over his own behavior may very well be successful—witness the sometimes impressive success rates of private treatment clinics. The smaller the price that the participant is willing to pay, the greater the constraints on program design. It makes no difference to an official running a training program for the hardcore unemployed that (for example) the Marine Corps can instill exemplary work habits in recruits who come to the Corps no more “job-ready” than the recruits to the job-training program. If the training program tried for one day to use the techniques that the Marine Corps uses, it would lose its participants. Boot camp was not part of the bargain the job trainees struck with the government when they signed on. Instead, the training program must not only induce persons to join the program (which may be fairly easy). It must also induce them to stay in the program, induce them to cooperate with its curriculum, and induce them, finally, to adopt major changes in outlook, habits, and assumptions. The program content must be almost entirely carrot. There is nothing morally reprehensible in approaches that are constrained to use only positive inducements. The objections are practical. First, it is guaranteed that success rates will be very low. The technology of changing human behavior depends heavily on the use of negative reinforcement in conjunction with positive reinforcement. The more deeply engrained the behavior to be changed and the more attractions it holds for the person whose behavior is involved, the more important it is that the program have both a full tool kit available to it and the participant’s willingness to go along with whatever is required. The Marine Corps has both these assets. Social programs to deal with the hardcore unemployed, teenaged mothers, delinquents, and addicts seldom do. Second, as inducements become large—as they must, if the program is dealing with the most intractable problems—the more attractive they become to people who were not in need of help in the first place. We do not yet know how large they must finally become. At this point, it appears that any program that would succeed in helping large numbers of the hardcore unemployed will make hardcore unemployment a highly desirable state to be in. The Theoretical and Practical Result The conditions that combine to produce net harm are somewhat different in the theoretical and the practical cases, but they come to the same thing. Theoretically, any program that mounts an intervention with sufficient rewards to sustain participation and an effective result will generate so much of the unwanted behavior (in order to become eligible for the program’s rewards) that the net effect will be to increase the incidence of the unwanted behavior. In practice, the programs that deal with the most intractable behavior problems have included a package of rewards large enough to induce participation, but not large enough to produce the desired result. My conclusion is that social programs in a democratic society tend to produce net harm in dealing with the most difficult problems. They will inherently tend to have enough of an inducement to produce bad behavior and not enough of a solution to stimulate good behavior; and the more difficult the problem, the more likely it is that this relationship will prevail.
Overview and Instructions ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below. In this case analysis you have five tasks: 1. Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.
Notes on Walzer Walzer – Welfare, Membership, and Need   Main Point: As participants in the social contract and as members of a political community, we are entitled to certain provisions. This doesn’t mean that we have a specific right to welfare, rather it means that, as part of the right to life, “no community can allow its members to starve to death when there is food available to feed them; no government can stand passively by at such a time—not if it claims to be a government of or by the community.”   The Role of Membership This is basically motivated by the social contract. As members of this community, we owe each other certain things that we don’t owe other people. Security and welfare Rousseau: citizens should love their country because their country provides them with reasons to love it. W claims that one of our needs is community because we need culture, religion, and politics. Do you think that’s true? Why do we enter into the social contract? The sphere of security and welfare A system of provision   The System of Provision Distributive justice in the sphere of welfare and security means 1) the recognition of need and 2) the recognition of members There isn’t a particular individual right to welfare, instead communities have obligations to provide for the specific needs of their members. However, the specifics of that provision need to be hashed out by the members of that community. Rawls: what’s his problem with Rawls’ system? Health Care and Social Security Analogies Communities have come together for generations to provide for these things and make sure that’s its members are protected. The mutual benefit club, but with a certain amount of coercion to ensure that people act appropriately and contribute accordingly. So it’s not entirely mutual: the more vulnerable benefit more. How does the milk example reflect this? Why are these somewhat disanalogous to the case of welfare? The Social Contract is, therefore, “an agreement to redistribute the resources of the members in accordance with some shared understanding of their needs, subject to ongoing political determination in detail.”   An American Welfare State We owe things to each other in accordance to certain principles: 1) that every political community must attend to the needs of its members 2) that the goods that are distributed must be distributed in proportion to need 3) the distribution must recognize and uphold the underlying equality of membership. (These principles will only work in an egalitarian society, not a hierarchical one) Even though these principles seem to apply in America, we have one of the worst systems of communal provision in the Western world. Why? Marx’s maxim is the most accurate account of the social contract: From each according to his ability (or his resources); to each according to his socially recognized needs.
Overview and Instructions ALSO Be sure to read the Case Analysis Structure Overview below. In this case analysis you have five tasks: 1. Give a clear and concise explanation of the case at hand.
Walzer’s “Welfare, Membership and Need” Excerpts “Welfare, Membership and Need” Excerpts by Michael Walzer Source: Spheres of Justice. New York: Basic Books (1983) Membership is important because of what the mem­bers of a political community owe to one another and to no one else, or to no one else in the same de­gree. And the first thing they owe is the communal provision of security and welfare. This claim might be reversed: communal provision is important be­ cause it teaches us the value of membership. If we did not provide for one another, if we recognized no distinction between members and strangers, we would have no reason to form and maintain political communities. “How shall men love their country,” Rousseau asked, “if it is nothing more for them than for strangers, and bestows on  them only that which it can refuse to none?” Rousseau believed that citi­zens ought to love their country and therefore that their country ought to give them particular  reasons to do so. Membership (like kinship) is a special rela­tion. It’s not enough to say, as Edmund Burke did, that “to make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely” The crucial thing is that it be lovely for us-though we always hope that it will be lovely for others (we also love its reflected loveliness). Political community for the sake of  provision, provision for the sake of community: the process works both ways, and that is perhaps its crucial feature. Philosophers and political theorists have been too quick to tum it into a simple calculation. Indeed, we are rationalists of everyday life; we come to­gether, we sign the social contract or reiterate the signing of it, in order to provide for our needs. And we value the contract insofar as those needs are met. But one of our needs is community itself: culture, re­ligion, and politics. It is only under the aegis of these three that all the other things we need become so­cially recognized needs, take on historical and deter­minate form. The social contract is an agreement to reach decisions together about what goods are neces­sary to our common life, and then to provide those goods for one another. The signers owe one another more than mutual aid, for that they owe or can owe to anyone. They owe mutual provision of all those things for the sake of which they have separated themselves from mankind as a whole and joined forces in a particular community Amour social is one of those things; but though it is a distributed good­ often unevenly distributed-it arises only in the course of other distributions (and of the political choices that the other distributions require). Mutual provision breeds mutuality So the common life is si­multaneously the prerequisite of provision and one of its products. Men and women come together because they lit­erally cannot live apart. But they can live together in many different ways… Cities differ from one another, partly because of the natural environments in which they are built and the immediate dangers their builders encounter, partly because of the conceptions of social goods that the builders hold. They recognize but also create one an­ other’s needs and so give a particular shape to what I will call the “sphere of security and welfare.” The sphere itself is as old as the oldest human commu­nity. Indeed, one might say that the original commu­nity is a sphere of security and welfare, a system of communal provision, distorted, no doubt, by gross inequalities of strength and cunning. But the system has, in any case, no natural form. Different experi­ences and different conceptions lead to different pat­ terns of provision. Though there are some goods that are needed absolutely, there is no good such that once we see it, we know how it stands vis-a-vis all other goods and how much of it we owe to one an­ other. The nature of a need is not self-evident. … The Extent of Provision Distributive justice in the sphere of welfare and secu­rity has a twofold meaning: it refers, first to the recognition of need and, second, to the recognition of members. Goods must be provided to needy members because of their neediness, but they must also be provided in such a way as to sustain their membership. It’s not the case, however, that mem­bers have a claim on any specific set of goods. Wel­ fare rights are fixed only when a community adopts some program of mutual provision. There are strong arguments to be made that, under given historical conditions, such-and-such a program should be adopted. But these are not arguments about individ­ual rights; they are arguments about the character of a particular political community. No one’s rights were violated because the Athenians did not allocate public funds for the education of children. Perhaps they believed, and perhaps they were right, that the public life of the city was education enough. The right that members can legitimately claim is of a more general sort. It undoubtedly includes some version of the Hobbesian right to life, some claim on communal resources for bare subsistence. No com­munity can allow its members to starve to death when there is food available to feed them; no government can stand passively by at such a time-not if it claims to be a government of or by or for the community. The indifference of Britain’s rulers dur­ing the Irish potato famine in the 1840s is a sure sign that Ireland was a colony, a conquered land, no real pan of Great Britain. This is not to justify the indif­ference-one has obligations to colonies and to con­quered peoples-but only to suggest that the Irish would have been better served by a government, vir­tually any government, of their own. Perhaps Burke came closest to describing the fundamental right that is at stake here when he wrote: “Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom.” It only has to be said that the wisdom in question is the wisdom not of a ruling class, as Burke seems to have thought, but of the community as a whole. Only its culture, its char­acter, its common understandings, can define the “wants” that are to be provided for. But culture, char­ acter, and common understandings are not givens; they don’t operate automatically; at any particular moment, the citizens must argue about the extent of mutual provision. They argue about the meaning of the social con­tract, the original and reiterated conception of the sphere of security and welfare. This is not a hypo­thetical or an ideal contract of the sort John Rawls has described. Rational men and women in the orig­inal position, deprived of all particular knowledge of their social standing and cultural understanding, would probably opt, as Rawls has argued, for an equal distribution of whatever goods they were told they needed. But this formula doesn’t help very much in determining what choices people will make, or what choices they should make, once they know who and where they are. In a world of particular cul­tures, competing conceptions of the good, scarce re­ sources, elusive and expansive needs, there isn’t going to be a single formula, universally applicable. There isn’t going to be a single universally approved path that carries us from a notion like, say, “fair shares” to a comprehensive list of the goods to which that notion applies. Fair share of what? Justice, tranquility, defense, welfare, and liberty… Though I have taken public health as an example of general provision, it is provided only at the expense of some members of the community. Moreover, it benefits most the most vulnerable of the others: thus, the special importance of the building code for those who live in crowded tenements, and of anti­ pollution laws for those who live in the immediate vicinity of factory smokestacks or water drains. So­cial security, too, benefits the most vulnerable mem­bers, even if, for reasons I have already suggested, the actual payments are the same for everyone. For the well-to-do can, or many of them think they can, help themselves even in time of trouble and would much prefer not to be forced to help anyone else. The truth is that every serious effort at communal provision (insofar as the income of the community derives from the wealth of its members) is redistribu­tive in character. The benefits it provides are not, strictly speaking, mutual. Once again, rational agents ignorant of their own social standing would agree to such a redistribution. But they would agree too easily, and their agreement doesn’t help us understand what sort of a redistribu­tion is required: How much? For what purposes? In practice, redistribution is a political matter, and the coercion it involves is foreshadowed by the conflicts that rage over its character and extent. Every particu­lar measure is pushed through by some coalition of particular interests. But the ultimate appeal in these conflicts is not to the particular interests, not even to a public interest conceived as their sum, but to col­lective values, shared understandings of member­ ship, health, food and shelter, work and leisure…Here, then, is a more precise account of the social contract: it is an agreement to redistribute the re­ sources of the members in accordance with some shared understanding of their needs, subject to on­ going political determination in detail. The contract is a moral bond. It connects the strong and the weak, the lucky and the unlucky, the rich and the poor, creating a union that transcends all differences of interest, drawing its strength from history, cul­ture, religion, language, and so on. Arguments about communal provision are, at the deepest level interpretations of that union. The closer and more inclusive it is, the wider the recognition of needs, the greater the number of social goods that are drawn into the sphere of security and welfare. I don’t doubt that many political communities have redistributed resources on very different principles, not in accordance with the needs of the members generally but in accordance with the power of the wellborn or the wealthy… An American Welfare State What sort of communal provision is appropriate in a society like our own? It’s not my purpose here to an­ticipate the outcomes of democratic debate or to stipulate in detail the extent or the forms of provi­sion. But it can be argued, I think, that the citizens of a modem industrial democracy owe a great deal to one another, and the argument will provide a useful opportunity to test the critical force of the principles I have defended up until now: that every political community must attend to the needs of its members as they collectively understand those needs; that the goods that are distributed must be distributed in proportion to need; and that the distribution must recognize and uphold the underlying equality of membership. These are very general principles; they are meant to apply to a wide range of communities -to any community, in fact, where the members are each other’s equals (before God or the law), or where it can plausibly be said that, however they are treated in fact, they ought to be each other’s equals. The principles probably don’t apply to a community or­ganized hierarchically, as in traditional India, where the fruits of the harvest are distributed not according to need but according to caste-or rather, as Louis Dumont has written, where “the needs of each are conceived to be different, depending on [his] caste.” Everyone is guaranteed a share, so Dumont’s Indian village is still a welfare state, “a sort of cooperative where the main aim is to ensure the subsistence of everyone in accordance with his social function,” but not a welfare state or a cooperative whose principles we can readily understand. (But Dumont does not tell us how food is supposed to be distributed in time of scarcity. If the subsistence standard is the same for everyone, then we are back in a familiar world.) Clearly, the three principles apply to the citizens of the United States; and they have considerable force here because of the affluence of the community and the expansive understanding of individual need. On the other hand the United States currently maintains one of the shabbier systems of communal provision in the Western world. This is so for a variety of rea­sons: the community of citizens is loosely organized; various ethnic and religious groups run welfare pro­ grams of their own; the ideology of self-reliance and entrepreneurial opportunity is widely accepted; and the movements of the left, particularly the labor movement, are relatively weak. Democratic decision­ making reflects these realities, and there is nothing in principle wrong with that. Nevertheless, the estab­lished pattern of provision doesn’t measure up to the internal requirements of the sphere of security and welfare, and the common understandings of the citi­zens point toward a more elaborate pattern…. So change is always a matter of political ar­gument, organization, and struggle. All that the philosopher can do is to describe the basic structure of the arguments and the constraints they entail. Hence the three principles, which can be summed up in a revised version of Marx’s famous maxim: From each according to his ability (or his resources); to each according to his socially recognized needs. This, I think, is the deepest meaning of the social contract. It only remains to work out the details­ but in everyday life, the details are everything.


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