Translating Ritchiespeak for you

The reason why we got a welfare state was that charities did not and could not do the job that was needed.

Nor can they now.

Which is why although I think charity is vital at drawing attention to problems and facilitating the actions of those who want to address them paying tax to maintain essential services will always be more important

Of course I think it\’s vital that charity cash be used to pay activists to draw attention to outmoded political ideologies. That\’s where my largest income comes from after all.

I just don\’t want charitable funds to be used to actually do anything.

That would mean less for activists, wouldn\’t it?

6 comments on “Translating Ritchiespeak for you

  1. The reason why we got a welfare state was that charities did not and could not do the job that was needed.

    Attlee made it pretty plain that the purpose of the Welfare State was to get people out of the power of charities, rather than because charities couldn’t cope. He had experience- he’d been at Toynbee Hall for instance- and was thus well aware of the degrading nature of charitable giving, in which unfortunates have to beg. Institutional charity is rarely about giving, it’s more about control, the old “give him a ham sandwich, wrapped in Scripture” of William Booth and his ilk.

    So the point is, it wasn’t about capacity, but about dignity.

  2. Agree with IanB. The Welfare State was about ‘rights’ and national standardisation, not about eradicating poverty or providing services that weren’t already available.

  3. There’s a section of David Beito’s “From Mutual Aid to Welfare State” that covers attitudes to receiving assistance from different sorts of providers. The Mutual Aid and Friendly Socieites were not charities – they were reciprocal aid mechanisms. People felt proud to have paid in, to then take out when needed (even with individual scrutiny of their claims), and be able to say they also went on to help others when they themselves were back in a better situation.

    Most people who were members of such bodies said they would likely refuse charity or state aid as they did not want hand-outs but mutual assistance that they would later repay.

    Nonetheless, I think it is 90% of people the Employment Insurance scheme in the 1909 budget was supposed to reach were already covered by some form of mutual insurance for losing their jobs through no fault of their own. It was higher in Germany I believe when Bismark started this craze for universal benefits.

    It is this universality that causes us so many problems. I see no reason why in a free market society terribly many people would need to “beg” from charitable bodies, but the other side of having to apply individually to someone probably local who maintains the books of the local mutual aid society at least means that your pay out can be individually tailored to your needs.

    When parishes were responsible for giving out an old age pension, those who were deemed deserving of that got an average of 75% of the local working wage. Since 1908 the UK state pension was introduced at c. 18% of the prevailing wage and has actually fallen since.

  4. I’ve given up volunteering for charities. The volunteers are to a woman (mainly) superb. the problems start with the ‘Professionals’. They are, in my experience, bossy and patronising control freaks. They are far more concerned with running the ‘shop’, whatever in fact is going on, making sure that every body realises that they are the professionals, that their job is stressful and difficult, they’re the ones who run the show and they’re the ones who get paid for doing so and the only opinion that matters is their own. Like any bureaucrat, the only job that interests them is their own.
    Just like RM, really.

  5. Time for a reference to James Bartholemew’s excellent “The Welfare State We’re In”, which review the many forms of social assistance, mutual help, and charitable aid available before the welfare state. He still maintains his blog from which you can find the book: http://www.thewelfarestatewerein.com/

    Milton Friedman gave him an enthusiastic blurb, than which I know no higher praise.

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