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Responses to Poverty and Inequality.docx

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University of Waterloo
Political Science
PSCI 255
Jingjing Huo

Responses to Poverty and Inequality - Two Core Aspects of the Welfare State Diverse Reaction to Poverty • Conservative ◦ born from French Revolution (against radical change) • Liberal ◦ born from French Revolution (fiscal freedom: less tax) • Socialist ◦ born from industrial revolution (solidarity/full employment) Conservative Response to Poverty • Socioeconomically: feudal (limit with contract with a few people) ◦ Lord, vassal, serf ◦ vassal are knights, the military ◦ serf who produce crops, sell labour to diff lord and vassal, other bid how to reduce overbidding? -they agree not to bid over each other, Hierachical relationship restricted market depth -conservatives oppose the "commodification" of society • Religiously: Catholic ◦ Dignified individual: labour is not a commodity ◦ Also known as "de-commodification" ◦ labour should not be force to sale their labour in order to escape from poverty ◦ organic society: capitalism corrupts"natural communities" ◦ family is priorities, for catholic women should not work and government will make sure they don't fall below the poverty line • Politically: Etatist ◦ favouring state authority ◦ how to contain electoral threat from the poor? authoritarian state becomes "paternal" ◦ offer people generous cash - labour is not commodity - the poor should get generous cash handout form the state Self interest: Economically:"commodification" threatens feudal structure Politically: cash handout reduces democratization pressure Religious belief: Man in dignified: the image of god "Commodification" undermines natural communities Liberal Response to Poverty • the state should be involved • Laissez-faire • Principle of "poor law" for poor ◦ if you are really poor the government will come in and help you • Private insurance for the well-off Socialist Response to Poverty • the state should give cash handouts to the poor ◦ but how to distinguish this position from the conservation ◦ Conservation: act of charity (work in return is not require) ◦ Socialist: show of solidarity (full employment is expected) ◦ the socialist • Early - Absolute solidarity ◦ "Levelling down"(wage equality) take the most from the rich to give it to the poors increase equality • Later
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