Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Welfare State We're In

Most people want to live in a country where all people enjoy the following basic necessities:
  • clean water
  • nutritious food
  • suitable clothing
  • a warm, dry, safe place to sleep
The direct provision of these necessities to those who are unable to provide for themselves should be straightforward and relatively inexpensive. The recipients of this charity should be immensely grateful, and the donors should sleep more soundly, knowing the tremendous gift they have bestowed upon their less fortunate compatriots.

But somehow, over the course of the 20th century, and the first decade of the 21st, the British welfare system has grown into a faceless, unaccountable behemoth, which squanders £100 billion of taxpayer's money every year [1]. Efficiency is low; fraud is rife. Recipients feel entitled to the subsidy they receive; donors feel extorted. 4.8 million people of working age live in a house where nobody works!

We must find a better way.

I understand that James Bartholomew has some ideas. I look forward to reading his book: The Welfare State We're In.

[1] As always, figures vary. David Martin, author of Benefit simplification: How, and why, it must be done, arrives at £155.9 billion.

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