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The Poor Person

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Chapter Summary

The poor person, whose situation seems to be an injustice of the world order and who demands a remedy from, so to speak, the whole of existence, will easily make every individual who is found better situated by chance answerable to this demand out of solidarity. Among the ancient Semites the claim of the poor for participation in meals did not have a correlate in personal generosity but in social membership and religious custom. Where care of the poor has a sufficient basis in an organic linkage among the members, the right of the poor generally possesses a stronger emphasis. This chapter shows that where, on the contrary, the care for the poor depends teleologically on one reaching a goal through it instead of causally on an existing and real unity of the association of a group, the claim of the poor as a right is reduced to complete nothingness.

Keywords: poor person; religious custom; social membership

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