I'm having trouble interpreting the following sentence from Bertrand Russell's "The Conquest of Happiness" (Chapter 1):
To prevent the perpetuation of poverty is necessary if the benefits of machine production are to accrue in any degree to those most in need of them; but what is the use of making everybody rich if the rich themselves are miserable?
I have no problem with the latter part after the semicolon and the main point is the former part before the semicolon. I couldn't understand the translations of the former part into my own language (Japanese). I hope my problem is not because of my lack of Japanese skill.
The main problem I have is probably on expressions "are to" and "if" in connection with "necessary" as I made them bold in the above quotation. I understood Russell's sentence above as follows:
From the moral point of view, poverty should be removed from our society. At the same time, removing every poverty is difficult for practical reasons, e.g. our resources are limited. However, if the benefits of machine production are possible or will be possible soon to be shared by many people (which solves the resource problem), then we should stop poverty continuing to exist (by sharing the benefits of machine production).
So my main question is whether this interpretation is correct or not. However, this main question is too unfocused, so I would like to ask the following more concrete questions:
Q1. There are several ways to interpret "be to + infinitive" such as talk about future, orders, formal instructions, official rearrangements, etc. What is the meaning of the "are to" in the above sentence of Russell? Does this "are to" mean possibility?
Q2. Which one below is the role of "if" in Russell's sentence?
- This "if" gives a condition to make "To prevent the perpetuation of poverty" possible.
- This "if" gives a reason to make "To prevent the perpetuation of poverty" necessary.