apparent self-sacrifice -Reply

jwalker jwalker at
Tue Jul 18 09:26:56 MDT 1995

On Tue, 18 Jul 1995, Jackie Carrigan wrote:

> On Tue, 18 Jul 1995, VINCENT M wrote:
> > Rakesh,
> >
> > I agree with most of your posting and one of the things I think any
> > future socialist society must do is guarantee full reproductive control
> > and freedom for women without loss of job and full maternity/paternity
> > rights.
> >
> > However, China is not a good example of anything.  It is not grounded on
> > collectivist principles  - workers do not own the land or have control
> > over any industry.  They also do not have  control over their bodies......
> >
> > I think this is a very important issue for socialists to address.  For
> > instance what happens in a socialist world if we have so many people we
> > can't feed them all?
> >
> > Maxine
> It would seem to me that if a society has a rationally planned economy
> that is geared toward meeting the needs of all members, then it may be
> necessary to rationally plan reproduction as well.  What I am unsure of
> is whether problematic population growth would automatically not occur
> because people would apply collectivist principles to their own
> reproduction and not produce more children than could be cared for, or if
> it would be necessary to regulate fertility (as in China).
> Unfortunately, the latter would interfere with reproductive freedom.
> This makes me wonder, in what other ways would the body be regulated in a
> socialist setting?
> Jackie Carrigan

Interesting topic.  It seems offhand that in (at least a certain type of)
socialist system, in which
each person contributes to and makes claims on a general social pool of
stuff, others will have a broader range of justified claims on what we
normally think of as people's personal behavior.

An example not having to do with reproduction: if everyone actually pays
for their own healthcare, which is provided through a private for-profit
system, then paternalist laws requiring seatbelts and motorcycle helmets
are unjustified.  Arguably, anyway.

If the state insures everybody and funds this system through tax money,
then there's a nonpaternalistic justification for such laws: the reckless
behavior of some is a burden on everyone else.

Is there something pernicious about this?

John D. Walker
jwalker at

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