SOCIAL POLICY: An Introduction by Richard Titmuss

SOCIAL POLICY: An Introduction

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the 19th century, trade unions in Britain wanted a redistribution of wealth; since 1913, however, the basis for this demand has deflated as rapidly as the British economy. To the day of his recent death, though, Professor Titmuss of the London School of Economics was a strong believer in sharing the poverty, or in his words, ""redistributive economic justice."" The strongest entry among this edited lecture series is a careful analysis of Britain's 1973 Social Security Act, which Titmuss discovers is not at all redistributive, and which follows ""the residual Welfare Model"" of social policy because it focuses on individuals, relies heavily on private market instruments, and prescribes simply ""drawing out what you pay in,"" unless, like many, you die first; in other words, it is plainly regressive, and probably a bonanza for the Treasury, though Titmuss does not investigate the latter aspect. The other possible forms of social policy are ""Industrial Achievement Performance,"" or bonuses for productivity, and ""Institutional Redistribution."" Titmuss barely discusses the second one, and observes that the classification represents ""only very broad approximations to the theories and ideas of economists, philosophers, political scientists and sociologists. Many variants could be developed of a sophisticated kind."" This is the sort of lecture compilation that will bore general readers and disappoint Titmuss' academic following. The more so since it is focused almost exclusively on Britain.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1975
Publisher: Pantheon