This is the first book to examine the views of a number of theorists from ancient times to the 19th century on a range of welfare issues: wealth, poverty and inequality; slavery, gender issues, and the family; child rearing and education; crime and punishment; the role of government in society; the strengths and weaknesses of government provision vis a vis market provision. The book also looks at the values of the various theorists as well as their perception of human nature for these tend to underpin their welfare views. The book will make essential reading for students of social policy, gender issues, community care, social work, and sociology.
"This is a very good book indeed ... Above all, it is clear, detailed and interesting, excellently free from jargon and convoluted prose, and a pleasure to read." Journal of Social Policy
"Professor George has made a major contribution to the welfare literature. I urge him to continue his important work!" International Journal of Social Welfare
"This book has two virtues: it offers the broadest historical range of any study of ideas about welfare, and it uses the analysis to show how social context and philosophical approach shape thinking about social provision and the good society." Peter Taylor-Gooby FBA, AcSS, Director ESRC Risk Programme
"In this scholarly and highly readable book, Professor George traces the history of welfare thought back to the time of Plato and Aristotle. In doing so, he adds a new dimension to contemporary debates about the ends and means of social policy and our perceptions of its intellectual lineage." Professor Robert Pinker
Vic George (1930-2017) was Emeritus Professor in Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He previously worked at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Nottingham. He authored and edited 18 books written around the themes of inequality and poverty, several of which have been translated into other languages.
Introduction; Classical Athens: Plato and Aristotle; The Graeco-Roman world: Epicurus, Zeno, Cicero, Seneca and Aurelius; Early Christianity: St Augustine, St Francis of Assisi and St Aquinas; The Renaissance: Desidarius Erasmus and Thomas More; The Reformation: Martin Luther and Jean Calvin; Absolutism: Thomas Hobbes; Liberalism: John Locke; Early feminism: Mary Astell, Sophia, and Mary Wollstonecraft; A welfare society: Jean-Jacques Rousseau; The market, laissez-faire and welfare: Adam Smith; Democracy and welfare: Thomas Paine; Classical Marxism and welfare: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels; Positive freedom and state welfare: T.H. Green.