When the Government Tells Poor People How to Live

Interesting article on the ethics of government intervention in people’s lives. Much public debate centers around questions discussed in this article: Should governments intervene in people’s personal decisions? If so when? If governments can make a positive impact, does that make it right?

“Residents in some public-housing units in Worcester, Massachusetts, must now get a job or go back to school. If they don’t, they’ll be evicted.”

“Is this the role government ought to be playing in people’s lives? John Stuart Mill condemned such efforts, writing, ‘The only purpose for which power may be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”


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