Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens

By Julian Le Grand | Go to book overview

9 A Demogrant

Money is like muck, not good except that it be spread.

(Francis Bacon, 'Of Seditions and Troubles')

Higgins. I suppose we must give him a fiver. Pickering. He'll make a bad use of it, I'm afraid. Doolittle. Not me, Governor, so help me I won't. Don't you be afraid that I'll save it and spare it and live idle on it. There won't be a penny of it left by Monday: I'll have to go to work same as if I'd never had it. It won't pauperise me, you bet. Just one good spree for myself and the missus, giving pleasure to ourselves and employment to others and satisfaction to you to think it's not been throwed away. You couldn't spend it better. Higgins. This is irresistible. Let's give him ten. Doolittle. No, Governor. She wouldn't have the heart to spend ten; and perhaps I shouldn't neither. Ten pounds is a lot of money: it makes a man prudent-like and then goodbye to happiness. You give me what I ask you, Governor: not a penny more, and not a penny less.

(Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion)

Income only maintains consumption, but assets change the way people think and interact in the world. With assets, people begin to think in the long term and pursue long-term goals. In other words, while incomes feed people's stomachs, assets change their minds.

(Michael Sherraden, Assets and the Poor)

The previous two chapters concentrated upon the delivery of public services and the questions raised by considerations of motivation and agency. I now turn to another, equally important set of issues concerned with the public sector: those associated with the cash benefits it provides and with its finance. Again I shall select a number of specific policy areas for detailed analysis: the finance of pensions and long-term care, hypothecated taxation, and, in this chapter, capital grants to young people: what I term 'demogrants'.

The demogrant idea is directed at changing the distribution of power, opportunity, and wealth within society. That the ownership of financial assets or wealth confers power—political and social as well as economic—is an

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Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy iii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • List of Figures xiv
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • Part I Theory: of Knights and Knaves 21
  • 2: Knights and Knaves in the Public Sector 23
  • 3: Motivation and the Policy Context 39
  • 4: A Theory of Public Service Motivation 51
  • Part II Theory: of Pawns and Queens 71
  • 5: Agency and Public Services 73
  • 6: Agency and Public Finance 85
  • Part III Policy 93
  • 7: Health Care 95
  • 8: School Education 107
  • 9: A Demogrant 120
  • 10: Partnership Savings 137
  • 11: Hypothecation 147
  • Epilogue : Doux Commerce Publique 163
  • Index 183
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