“If you aren’t paying for a service, then you are the product and not the customer.” On the national scale, this concept came in widely with Bismark’s welfare state. Prior to the 1870s, less numerous rich families usually had more surviving children because they could afford to raise them. Closer to WW1, the incipient welfare states were raising more future soldiers by encouraging and supporting less prosperous parents with wealth transfers from others. In effect, they ranched people to increase the size of draftable population, along with the future tax base.
Perverse incentive being what they are, eventually the less productive started having more kids, while the more productive were paying the freight. In farm terms, the mules do the work, while the meat breeds reproduce. I strongly suspect that the sudden world-wide interest in socialism after WW1 had more to do with population increase strategies and less with fears of revolutions or kindness to the masses. After all, handouts don’t stop revolutions — they are far more likely to foster them by giving resources to the idle.
The first time something is given freely, it may be appreciated. The second time, taken for granted. After that, the paucity of the handout is held against the givers. Witness any urban riot in cities where half the adult population is on the dole. With the perpetual underclass neither improving its station nor getting syphoned off through colonial or continental warfare, socialism as a dampener on unrest doesn’t work. And while recent immigrants are viewed as takers who don’t honor the concomitant social contract, native upstate residents can view metro dwellers the same way.
Shepherding of people, by the state or by religious authorities, is all about the milking of taxes and tithes, and about access to labor. The state, being more coercive and forcible about the process, is even less ethical than the various cult leaders who rely only on brainwashing. Religious cults acting as national governments combine the worst features of the two.
We see the drastic differences between prices of men in different countries by how they war: the West would rather use up a million dollar missile than lose an expensively trained soldier, while the Third World casts their combatants as bomb controllers in preference to simple electronics. The scarcity of the trained soldiers comes not only from the expense required but from the reduction in the population growth rates. On the flip side, each productive Westerner can support rather more government activity thanks to increasing productivity. Since each productive person represents a long-term value, I would expect jurisdictional competition for them: the US reality does show consistent migrations from high tax and social control states to those with lower monetary and regulatory burdens. By contrast, the welfare population has lower mobility that’s generally directed towards higher tax and more socialist states. As the paying customers exit and the dole-collecting product moves in, I wonder how those states would put them to use. For now, their main use to the masters has been in the voting booth.