Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on June 2, 2013

in Civil Society, History, Myths and Fallacies, Nanny State, Social Responsibility

… is from page 234 of historian David Beito’s profoundly important 2000 book, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967; this exquisitely researched book details a history that remains largely unknown – and scandalously unknown especially to those academics, pundits, and politicians who wring their hands the hardest and furrow their brows most blatantly when accusing us opponents of the welfare state of indifference to the plight of the poor:

The shift from mutual aid and self-help to the welfare state has involved more than a simple bookkeeping transfer of service provision from one set of institutions to another.  As many of the leaders of fraternal societies had feared, much was lost in an exchange that transcended monetary calculations.  The old relationships of voluntary reciprocity and autonomy have slowly given way to paternalistic dependency.  Instead of mutual aid, the dominant social welfare arrangements of Americans have increasingly become characterized by impersonal bureaucracies controlled by outsiders.

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