sun12mar2006—10w071d19%— 01h40m00s—0utc

That Business: A Changing World textbook has been a lot of fun. It is still a textbook — overly commercial (specially at the beginning), tiresome, and repetitive (a needless box here, a redundant summary there, summaries of redundant summaries) — but it is interesting nonetheless.

Near the beginning, economic systems are dealed in a few pages and there were two things I noticed. The first one was that ubiquitous communism catchphrase:

[In Commnism] everyone contributes according to ability and receives benefits according to need.

I thought it was about time Capitalism (here ‘s a wonderful definition) got it’s own catch-phrase. Here’s my stab at it:

In Capitalism everyone contributes according to need and receives benefits according to talent.

“What is honored in a country will be cultivated there,” is a quote frequently attributed to Plato, and I find it useful to compare both catch-phrases. It’s quite a dangerous thing to honor need in your country, to honor effort might sound as a step forward, but it’s still foolish — a farmer pulling the plough himself certainly puts more effort into his crop than a modern farmer with a tractor, is that to be rewarded? Rewarding talent may sound harsh or insensitive but it is the only truly humane thing to do.

The second thing is a simple question. For the life of me, I can’t understand the following sentence:

Socialists believe their system permits a higher standard of living than other economic systems, but the difference often applies to the nation as a whole rather than to its individual citizens.

How do you define the standard of living of a nation and how can it be different from that of its citizens? Can someone help me give this a coherent meaning?

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