Many people believe that this issue arose with the advent of socialism a century or so ago and was given its impetus and virulence by the communist class war dogma of Karl Marx. That is not so.
The controversy is almost as old as civilization. It began in ancient Greece, more than four thousand years before the Christian era, with the doctrines of Plato. He was the first of the “planners” and the true founder of the communist economy which deifies the state. In his Republic the Athenian philosopher set out a virtual blueprint for the evolution of what has come to be called the “Welfare State.”
Plato’s ideal republic was founded upon two primary assumptions: (1) that the community must be comprised of only two classes, those who govern and those who are governed (the latter owing implicit obedience to the former), and (2) that human qualities are mainly hereditary and therefore that rulers must beget future rulers. (It should be noted that Plato belonged by birth to the aristocratic governing class who hated the democracy no less than the principles upon which the democratic system is founded.) FULL ARTICLE