William Beveridge

British economist and social reformer (1879-1963)

William Henry Beveridge, 1st Baron Beveridge of Tuggal (5 March 187916 March 1963) was a British economist and social reformer.

The object of government in peace and in war is not the glory of rulers or of races, but the happiness of the common man.

QuotesEdit

 
The state is or can be master of money, but in a free society it is master of very little else.
 
Any proposals for the future, while they should use to the full the experience gathered in the past, should not be restricted by consideration of sectional interests established in the obtaining of that experience.
  • The trouble in modern democracy is that men do not approach to leadership 'til they have lost the desire to lead anyone.
    • As quoted in "Sayings of the Week" in The Observer [London] (15 April 1934)
  • Scratch a pessimist and you find often a defender of privilege.
    • As quoted in "Sayings of the Week" in The Observer [London] (17 December 1943)
  • Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens.
    • Full Employment in a Free Society (1944) Pt. 7
  • The state is or can be master of money, but in a free society it is master of very little else.
    • Voluntary Action (1948) Ch. 12

Social Insurance and Allied Services (1942)Edit

Social Insurance and Allied Services (The "Beveridge Report") (2 December 1942)
  • Any proposals for the future, while they should use to the full the experience gathered in the past, should not be restricted by consideration of sectional interests established in the obtaining of that experience. Now, when the war is abolishing landmarks of every kind, is the opportunity for using experience in a clear field. A revolutionary moment in the world’s history is a time for revolutions, not for patching.
    • Pt. 1, 7
  • Organisation of social insurance should be treated as one part only of a comprehensive policy of social progress. Social insurance fully developed may provide income security; it is an attack upon Want. But Want is one only of five giants on the road of reconstruction and in some ways the easiest to attack. The others are Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness.
    • Pt. 1, 8
  • Social security must be achieved by co-operation between the State and the individual. The State should offer security for service and contribution. The State in organising security should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than that minimum for himself and his family.
    • Pt. 1, 9

Quotes about William BeveridgeEdit

  • It was the Beveridge Report that provided the battlefield on which the decisive struggle to win a national commitment to New Jerusalem was waged and won... As appropriate for a prophet and a brilliant Oxford intellect, Beveridge thought a lot of himself, so that righteousness went hand in hand with authoritarian arrogance and skill at manipulating the press to make him the Field Marshal Montgomery of social welfare.
    • Correlli Barnett, The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation (1986), p. 26
  • [I]n his report on Full Employment in 1944 Beveridge urged an unquantified outlay of government funds in order to stimulate enough demand to bring about full employment, while admitting that such a policy in 1938 would have caused a balance-of-payments deficit of £130 million... Beveridge's answer to the conundrum lay in re-equipping industry and expanding output and exports, yet he offered no detailed analysis, no pondered advice, as to how these desirable objects were to be achieved; no costings of the investment needed and how it was to be funded; and he certainly failed to consider what effect the burden of the welfare state and the cost of maintaining full employment might have on such industrial investment. In any case he placed the need to modernise British industry and raise its productivity only third in priority in his "chosen route of planned national outlay".
    • Correlli Barnett, The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation (1986), p. 42
  • Full Employment in a Free Society is really a sermonising tract, gloriously sweeping over difficulties human and technological to the promised land beyond. And, in the last resort, Sir William justified the practicality of his vision by simple analogy with the achievements of the wartime British economy: "The significance of war in relation to employment is that the scope of State outlay is increased immensely and indefinitely and that the State formally and openly gives up any attempt to balance its budget or limit its outlay by considerations of money". Similarly with regard to his plan for a welfare state, we are told by his daughter and biographer: "To the critics who inquired 'Can we pay for it?' the impatient reply was given, 'We can always pay for wars, this one costs £15 million a day. We will just have to afford the Beveridge Plan'."
    • Correlli Barnett, The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation (1986), p. 49

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