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Why Are the Poor Always with Us? "Moral Hazard."

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The Poor Are Always with Us“The poor are always with us.”  What a discouraging declaration!  More disturbing still, it is attributed to Jesus Christ.  Although the details vary from one gospel to another, Mary of Bethany (some say Mary Magdalene) was pouring expensive oil on Jesus’s feet (in some versions on his head) when his disciples complained  (some say Judas specifically) that the money could have been used to feed the poor.  (The Gospel of Matthew suggests that this incident is what caused Judas to betray Jesus.)



Moral HazardWhy are the poor always with us?  Consider  “moral hazard.”  “Moral hazard,” according to Alan Blinder in After the Music Stopped:  The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead, “has nothing to do with morality.”  The concept originated in the 18th century in the insurance industry and suggests that having insurance might encourage risky (and therefore immoral?) behaviour.  
Today the concept is very much with us as insurers worry aloud  that house …