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The Philosophy of Welfare -- Analysis of a Compassionate System

Updated: Feb 20

A sad man.

When Welfare Chains You to Your Nation

The decision to offer welfare to its citizens is a fundamental choice every government or nation must make for either yes or no. That choice measures how much it values reaching out to the unfortunate, disabled, and needy. This choice, however, is often less about objective criteria (AKA, whether some populations must have welfare) and more about the authorities' view of their citizens (AKA, should the taxpayer's money be invested for other citizens as well).

If it were purely based on objective measures, either every nation would have welfare or none at all, just like human rights. Either way it's hard to objectively determine welfare as necessary, because the government won't necessarily get anything in return for doing so. And since the state is a business, the financial aspect needs to be taken into account as well. When an investment becomes a financial liability, one might be more inclined to avoid investing further.

This compels me, personally and morally, to give back to the State of Israel by working on this site, for the last thing I want to do is to be considered a liability or a drawback. I far more prefer to be an asset, instead, for anyone who reads Philosocom. A benefit, and not something that requires being owed to with no return. I prefer to provide value and not be the one who must be given value entirely. I have no desire to feel guilty when I can still work, in my own, unique way as a philosopher.

Either way I'm technically financial prisoner of this compassionate system. This shows that compassion has its drawbacks as well. My invisible disabilities prevent me from working, trapping me within the borders of this nation. Many enjoy the freedom to leave and seek a life elsewhere, but not me. Any practical employer, within and abroad the country, would choose those who can work consistently, leaving me behind, as my limited capacities can lead to severe fatigue and potential mental health issues after even minimal work. Such a thing happened during what I call, the Reaping Fatigue Era, which lasted 5 years.

At times, this confinement feels akin to living in North Korea, even if without with the comforts of internet, food, and the absence of physical beatings for daring to protest. Perhaps a life in another country would be better, a chance to find a niche where my limitations are less of a burden. But this remains a distant dream, an unwise decision I cannot afford. Leaving would mean sacrificing the very system that sustains me, which despite its limitations, keeps me afloat.

Intermission: Philosophers and Patronage

Patronage can be seen as a form of welfare that may be rewarded for certain intellects thanks to their work and/or promising potential. Here is a list of philosophers throughout history who recieved this "personal welfare" of having patronage:

  1. British philosopher Thomas Hobbes had the Earl of Davonshire giving him patronage by hiring him to be the tutor of his son, the Second Earl of Davonshire.

  2. The world's first known scientist (and philosopher in general), Aristotle, had King Philip II of Mecadonia as his patron. In exchange for the King's patronage, Alexander the Great, his son, became the philosopher's apprentice.

  3. British philosopher John Locke had ties with the Earls of Shaftesbury. giving them sage-tier, general advice and supervising the third's Earl education.

We can learn from the history of philosophers that even philosophy has its own demand that can aquire the philosopher a good standing among those who want to become his or her patrons. And of course, for that to even occur in the first place, one must be a decent philosopher.

You will never know me fully. Only I know myself fully. Whatever will happen to me in the future, I am mysterious.

The Dilemma of Disability Welfare

Israel's disability welfare system, while undeniably compassionate, offers a reminder of the complex ethical and economic challenges inherent in such programs. While the nation provides support to its disabled citizens, even if it falls short of the minimum wage, not every country makes this same choice. This, at its core, the problem of the issue: welfare is not an obligation, but a philosophical decision each nation must either accept or deny.

In other words it means that it does not owe you your life, if it chooses not to. You might as well starve in the streets after a life of homelessness, and that will be considered legitimate because it's the sole choice of the state as to whether grant you welfare or not. Without it, you are confined to the option given to the three philosophers I mentioned: Receive the patronage not of a country but of either a private benefactor or of a whole dynasty.

State welfare a costly choice, with little immediate financial return, if at all. And the choice of seeing oneself as morally compelled to give back to humanity, belongs to the individual, too. It is a strange combination of both obligation and non-obligation.

No nation is truly required to sacrifice its revenue for those struggling due to disability. It's a matter of principle, of a nation's collective philosophy towards its citizens in need. And it is a matter of principle, of an individual's moral philosophy, to whether or not pay back in their own ways, or remain unproductive "klumniks".

Some countries, for various reasons, choose not to provide aid, viewing it as outside the state's responsibility. In their eyes, those capable of earning, yet unable due to disability, are not entitled to assistance. With the internet's reach, for example, opportunities for income generation are available. Why then, should the government burden taxpayers with welfare? This is but one arguement in their favor, of course, that I can think of right now.

Welfare's double-edged sword is a harsh reality. Without it, the most vulnerable may indeed vanish to hunger and ill -- the harsh reality of poverty, neglect and general irrelevancy. Yet, with it comes undeniable feelings of deviation. a constant reminder of one's limitations compared to the able-bodied majority. It's not necessarily shameful, and it's not necessarily useful to feel that way, but it can be alienating. Alienating, because you will always be different from the rest. And society won't necessarily accept you. It might as well deem you an outsider as it fails to relate to you, and/or vice versa.

In Israel, for example, welfare recipients face income-based constraints, risking losing te benefits of welfare, altogether, if their income exceeds a certain threshold. Essentially, the permanent contributions of welfare come at the cost of limited job opportunities. Because should you lose that high-paying job, you will also be left without the welfare you once had, before getting that job.

This ultimately compels us to ask the question: should we, as individuals and societies, care for those who need help, even if it comes at a cost? The answer, complex as it may be, lies not in simplistic obligations, but in our collective recognition of the value of compassion, moral responsibility, and the question of whether or not wealth needs to be shared on the backs of those who do work.

I, either way, know that without taxpayers, I wouldn't even thrive. I want to return the favor by building this article empire. I believe it's the moral thing to do, instead of sitting all day, playing video games.

A Disabled Voice on Welfare in Israel

Living on welfare is a bittersweet experience. The weight of dependence is undeniable, and is based on the moral outlook of a body you have no saying in. When you're on the receiving end, you understand the necessity, the sheer difference it makes between surviving and simply existing. From outside this outlook it's easy to see you as expendable, one cog in a complex machine that can easily discarded and replaced.

And as long as you won't prove your worth you will remain irrelevant in the eyes of general society. And in the eyes of the world beyond it.

Not every nation, after all, can afford the luxury of caring for its less fortunate. Many face the harsh reality of poverty, a reality I would likely know all too well without the lifeline of welfare.

People often tell me, "But you're smart," or "But you're young." These kind words don't erase the fact that there are things I shouldn't do, in the name of my health. It's too risky for me to compete for high-income jobs. My disabilities, and that horrible fatigue era that consumed 5 years of my life, are invisible shackles that no amount of intelligence can break.

I broke free of the disability caused by that fatigue, which compelled me to use a cane for a year, by inventing a neuroplastical technique of my own. However, I am not sure if the reaping fatigue won't return once more. Why should I risk it? It was hellish, and reflected poorly on my ability to work as a philosopher and manager of Philosocom.

I know I'm not owed this support, that I morally owe them my very survival. It's a one-sided dependence. A reality I wouldn't call freedom, but a contrast to the abyss that awaits without it.

For many like me, welfare is more than just a safety net; it's a bridge over a pit we can't hope to cross alone. It's a chance to breathe, to create, even to write on this very platform, and as such, allow us to actualize our merits, and give back to humanity.

So, while the limitations leave a bitter sweet taste in my mouth, my gratitude remains. Thank you, Israel, for not turning a blind eye, for keeping me afloat, for giving me this space, this voice, even if it comes at a cost.

And I am repaying you by repaying for philosophy for saving my life: By working on Philosocom.

I refuse being too weak. I'll might as well work on this site until my death.

Hail Philosocom.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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