The Welfare State: Who Is My Brother's Keeper?

The Welfare State: Who Is My Brother's Keeper?

The Welfare State: Who Is My Brother's Keeper?

The Welfare State: Who Is My Brother's Keeper?


For practical purposes, a great debate that occupied Americans during the 1930's and 1940's is now pointless: regardless of whether or not we should be, we clearly are a welfare state, if a welfare state is one that accepts responsibility for the basic economic security and physical health of all its citizens. Particularly since the Republican Administration of President Eisenhower accepted, even in theory, most of the social welfare programs bequeathed to it by twenty years of Democratic administrations, the argument over the welfare concept has been relegated to occasional academic halls and political fringe groups.

This book, though it presents the major arguments for and against the philosophy of the welfare state, concentrates primarily on presenting different views of its causes and consequences and cogent discussions of the directions its future might take. The opening chapter briefly assesses the current extent of welfare programs and sketches in the outlines of the debate over their value. Chapter Two uses the accounts of eminent scholars to describe the history of welfare programs in the United States and the climactic events of the Great Depression which brought about the creation of the American welfare state. The third chapter depicts the subsequent consensus through which most Americans have come to accept the welfare state in principle as in the breach. And finally there is a chapter which suggests new problems coming to the fore in the 1960's as the welfare concept is broadened in application through poverty programs.

Other Insight Series books deal with questions related to the growth of public welfare: labor organization, the expansion of centralized power, the nature of opposition in American politics, the polarization of radical politics on the left and right. But at the center of all these problems is the fact of welfare, and the philosophy of equal economic opportunity upon which it, and much else that is essential to American Ideals, depends.

F. K.
J. B.

Los Angeles, California November, 1967

(NOTE.--Throughout this book, the author-editors' footnotes are marked by symbols-- , †--and the original quoted notes by numerals.) . . .

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