English Poor Laws - Essay Example

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English poor Laws (Date) (Word Count) (Author’s Name) (University) English Poor Law Introduction As soon as the Poor Law came into action it experienced heavy amount of criticism, the criticism was led by two renowned individuals; Thomas Robert Malthus and Jeremy Bentham (FRASER, 1973, p…
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Download file to see previous pages His first criticism towards the laws was that the bill was created under the assumption that all the poor people are in need of relief and all of them fall under the category of those who deserve assistance.1 According to him the bill has failed to differentiate among those who deserve to be assisted and those who do not deserve to be assisted and to create a distinction between these individuals, the policy makers require to have clear eligibility criteria for relief. According to him, individuals who deserve to gain assistance were those who can not work at all and even those who work as seasonal workers have to remain unemployed for a certain period of time. He further believes that among the poor are even those who are lazy and do not want to work and they rely on the assistance provided through programs such as the Poor Laws. 1. Fraser, D., The evolution of the British Welfare State; a history of social policy since the Industrial Revolution, Macmillan, London, 1973 He suggests that such individuals are not worthy of being eligible and being helped and fall in the category of those who do not deserve assistance. He believes that if an individual wants to be aided by reforms such as the Poor Law, he/she should reflect that he is in need and he/she falls in the category of those who deserve assistance. ...
He believes that such activities are against the principle of utilitarianism.2 According to the rule of utilitarianism; act is considered right if the act results in highest amount of benefits for high number of people and the Poor Laws were against this principle. Chadwick, who was a major part of the Royal Commissions report, stated that workhouses should be used in a manner so that lower number of people claimed for assistance.2 Bentham was of the belief that wages should be allowed to be set in accordance to the free market system and should be overseen by the authorities. 2. Edsall, N. C., The Anti-Poor Law movement, 1834-44, Manchester University Press, Manchester, Eng, 1971 The third reason due to which Bentham criticized the poor law reform was that the reform was like a guarantee of income to all individuals.3 This means that individuals believed that whether they work for their survival or not, the government will assist them and they do not really need to work. Bentham even criticized the Cow money clause of the Poor law; he believed that such assistance was not really assistance, but a bribe to gain votes of those individuals who vote during elections of the government.3 Malthus against English Poor Laws Malthus, another renowned criticizer of the English Poor Law is one of the individuals who hold a very extremist like view of the English Poor Law.4 Politicians and policy makers are greatly influenced by Malthus’ philosophies as they state that the cost of helping the poor is increasing day by day just because these poor families are increasing in size. Keeping Malthus’ view of population of the poor it is wrong to suggest that poverty is created due to the economic system. Malthus was of the view that poverty is caused ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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