Beveridge, William Henry

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Beveridge, William Henry

William Henry Beveridge, 1879–1963, British economist, b. India, grad. Oxford, 1902. His fame as an authority on social problems was gained through investigations and writings in government service (1908–19), especially as director of labor exchanges, set up largely through his efforts, and in the food ministry, where he devised rationing during World War I. Knighted in 1919, he was director of the London School of Economics from that year until 1937, when he became master of University College, Oxford. Social Insurance and Allied Services (1942), a report prepared for the British government, proposed a social security system "from the cradle to the grave" for all British citizens. In 1944 his Full Employment in a Free Society advocated planned public spending, control of private investment, and other measures to assure full employment. He served (1944–45) as a Liberal member of Parliament and was in 1946 made 1st Baron Beveridge of Tuggal. Beveridge advocated state management to complement, not replace, individual initiative. This was a theme of such later writings as Voluntary Action (1948) and A Defence of Free Learning (1959).

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