Democracy and welfare

Vic George

in Major thinkers in welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9781847427069
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302728 | DOI:
Democracy and welfare

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This chapter studies Thomas Paine, who was the first major figure to argue for a rather comprehensive system of social security benefits to prevent and alleviate poverty. As a result, he has been described as a ‘prophet of the modern welfare state’. His views on welfare and politics were also influenced by his own beliefs on human nature, and he was the first major writer to clearly delineate the difference between government and society or society and the state. The discussion differentiates hereditary monarchy and elective monarchy, examines Paine's views on the common good, trade, and private property, as well as his ideas on the structure and culture of poverty. The chapter identifies three fundamental ideals that consist of Paine's legacy: the notion of universal rights, the notion of democracy and political representation as the best form of government and his stature as the ‘father of the welfare state’.

Keywords: Thomas Paine; social security benefits; hereditary monarchy; elective monarchy; poverty; universal rights; democracy; political representation

Chapter.  10711 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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