A particularly noxious ad from one of the big banks suggests that we use their bank cards to pay our children for chores. In other words, we should replace relations built on love and respect with something more like the market. Sure, some families are happy with that; personally, I’d rather rely on solidarity and negotiations than on fee-for-service. This effort to instil user fees in the family points to similar issues around social services. User fees have fuelled some of the sharpest conflicts in recent years: think #FeesMustFall and e-tolls. Fundamentally, the question is what society should provide in the name of solidarity and respect to all members, paid from general government revenues, and what individuals should have to pay for separately. A cohesive society requires that people know that their core human and social needs — as a minimum, healthcare, education, basic municipal services, food and housing — will be met irrespective of their personal income. That assurance is...

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