Ludwig von Mises

The fear of penury and of the degrading consequences of being supported by charity are important factors in the preservation of man’s physiological equilibrium. They impel a man to keep fit, to avoid sickness and accidents, and to recover as soon as possible from injuries suffered.

The experience of the social security system, especially that of the oldest and most complete scheme, the German, has clearly shown the undesirable effects resulting from the elimination of these incentives. No civilized community has callously allowed the incapacitated to perish. But the substitution of a legally enforceable claim to support or sustenance for charitable relief does not seem to agree with human nature as it is. Not metaphysical pre-possessions, but considerations of practical expediency make it inadvisable to promulgate an actionable right to sustenance.

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