While reading “Pembroke's Past: They were headed for the poor house,” the following came to mind:
What is our best choice, or, what are our best choices for care of the indigent and underprivileged in 21st century America?
- Our current system of entitlements such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other Welfare programs;
- The ancient concept of poor farms as described in the article;
- Leaving the responsibility up to the communities within which the need exists – a 21st century modification of the poor farm concept;
- Let it all play-out in the free market (i.e. if we truly had a free market) – a strictly orthodox libertarian model – the poor will be taken care of if there is an economic benefit derived from it;
- Encouraging and embracing paradigms such as Bangladeshian economist Muhammad Yunus’s innovative Grameen Bank microlending initiative;
- Encouraging and embracing corporate social responsibility initiatives such as described in "The Business of Doing Good," “ … [a] convergence of capitalist strategies and social change;
- Encouraging and embracing the Ethos bottled water business model introduced by entrepreneur Jonathan Greenblatt and later acquired by Starbucks;
- A Reganistic model of leaving these matters exclusively to each state;
- Do nothing: The hell with them – let them fend for themselves;
- or, with the exception of the latter, some middle-of-the-road approach, coalescing the best practices from all alternatives.
Are there other alternatives?