What about social welfare?

   In our generation, there is a very popular concept that the state should undertake the living welfare of the common people, such as medical care, education, minimum living guarantee, and so on. This concept is generally considered to have originated in Western countries. In fact, in the West, the welfare system is a modern product.
   It was not until the late 19th century that German Prime Minister Bismarck proposed the establishment of a social security system for the masses. After a series of development, in 1942, the United Kingdom released the famous “Beveridge Report” before proposing the comprehensive construction of the welfare system.
   This is of course a good thing, but this system has only been in operation in the West for a few decades, and it has produced many bad results. The public believes that it is best to reduce taxes and not increase, and that welfare should only increase and not decrease. The social burden is getting heavier and heavier, and some countries have difficulties in economic operation.
   Today I want to talk about China. China’s social welfare system has a much longer history. In China, the government has assumed leadership responsibilities in disaster relief since Dayu’s flood control. In the pre-Qin period, China already had a system of “twelve policies for famine policy”, that is, twelve supporting measures that the government should take when faced with famine. Since the Warring States Period, all dynasties and dynasties in China have built “Changping Warehouses”, which buy and store grain in good times, and open warehouses to release grain in bad harvest years.
   Here comes the question. The Western welfare system has been in trouble for decades, but why has the Chinese welfare system been able to operate for more than 2,000 years? What’s the difference between this? The most fundamental difference is the difference in concept.

   In Western welfare systems, receiving welfare is a citizen’s “right”. Among the “Four Freedoms” proposed by former US President Roosevelt, “freedom from want” is to list the enjoyment of welfare as a basic human right of citizens. This can be seen as the progress of human civilization at that time, but after a long time and everyone is used to it, hidden dangers appear.
   In these western countries, as long as a person’s income is below a certain standard – even if his actual living standard is not low, even higher than the living standard of the middle class in many countries – he has the right to be supported by others. Please note that since it is his right, no one can take it away, and there is no need for him to feel ashamed, or even to express gratitude to anyone. This is what he deserves according to the law, it is an idea.
   What about China’s social welfare concept?
   In China, few people think that it is their right to accept relief and help from the state or others. The Chinese concept is the other way around, social welfare is the “responsibility” of the state to the people.
   In the event of floods, droughts and famines, the state must undertake the task of disaster relief. In normal times, if someone is really in difficulty, such as disability, old age, widowhood and loneliness, the government has the responsibility to help. The purpose of welfare is to solve specific difficulties, not to satisfy a certain right.
   This set of welfare concepts in China has been well inherited, and it has also become an effective means to enhance social identity and alleviate conflicts. But having said that, if a person is unwilling to work because of his own subjective reasons, which leads him to fall into poverty, then although he can also enjoy the state’s assistance policy, at the same time, he will definitely be despised and even condemned by those around him.
   If social welfare is a right, there must be an objective criterion. That will inevitably lead to drawing the line according to income, regardless of whether this situation is caused by his own dislike of labor.
   And if social welfare is a kind of responsibility, in the case of limited resources, of course, we must give priority to those who are most deserving and worthy of assistance. And when resources are plentiful, those who have the ability to get something for nothing are also morally condemned. Therefore, in China, social welfare will not lead to the result of “raising lazy people”.
   In fact, there is another important reason why China’s welfare system can achieve this effect. When Western governments provide welfare, they mainly give money, and the state seldom provides other guidance to ordinary people. However, in addition to disaster relief, poverty alleviation, and poverty relief, the Chinese government also has another responsibility, namely, education.
   For example, Ming Taizu Zhu Yuanzhang promulgated the “Educational People’s List”, which contains six sentences: filial piety to parents, respect for superiors, harmony with the village, teach children and grandchildren, each one’s health, and do nothing wrong. This is an ordained covenant for the common people, which contains the basic moral code that the common people must abide by.
   In addition to posting these six sentences everywhere, Zhu Yuanzhang asked each township and every li to set up a wooden duo (similar to a bell), and to select local old or disabled people who were unable to do heavy work to shake the wooden duo while walking in the township and the locality. , but also shout these six sentences in the “Jiaomin Bangwen”. This kind of crusade in the countryside is carried out six times a month. During the autumn harvest season, the villagers distribute food and living expenses to the people on tour.
   In Chinese culture, this is a very strong tradition. Not only the government, but also the clan attaches great importance to this kind of moral education, which is a kind of general social consciousness.
   Don’t underestimate the power of this kind of indoctrination. After more than two thousand years, it has created an internal social promotion force within Chinese society. In times of crisis, help each other, but morally never condone those who get something for nothing. This tradition allows Chinese civilization to retain a powerful anti-degenerate ability. Therefore, in the history of the development of human civilization, Chinese civilization has been consistent for thousands of years, and has been revived after repeated disasters.
   It has always been said in the past that systems are more important than people. From the perspective of history, institutions are indeed more important than people, but the spiritual traditions that enable people to continuously improve are sometimes more important than specific institutions.