Sunday, 19 March 2017

Private Giving and the Welfare State

At a time when the new US misAdministration, is cutting back on national and international welfare we should be thinking about why we have the welfare state. It is true that in times of need private generosity can offer welcome relief. But is is haphazard and often poorly thought out. Surely the point of the welfare state, should be to free the needy from dependence on private generosity? Private generosity often goes on the easy or palatable cases of need: homeless cats, stray dogs, cancer relief etc.. Such an approach will often miss out the less attractive and less obvious. 

Proper and equitable taxation and redistribution by the state gives  a a sense of security and dignity that the less fortunate had never previously enjoyed. Massive inequality and a loss of confidence in the integrity of Government can lead to insecurity and in large part bred fascism - the belief that hard times calls for a dynamic and strong leader, who will be hard and deliver justice to all. 

People who volunteer at hospitals, the RSPCA or collect for Greenpeace are to be appreciated. But so to are those who pay their taxes without demur. A society where there is a culture of private giving may be admirable, but surely more so is a society where people receive free health care, a good education and where workers receive living wages, pensions and safe working conditions and enjoy reasonable job security; where executives receive reasonable and proportionate salaries as opposed to stratospheric ones.