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The Move Away from Laissez-faire Int 2 Cradle to the Grave.

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Presentation on theme: "The Move Away from Laissez-faire Int 2 Cradle to the Grave."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Move Away from Laissez-faire Int 2 Cradle to the Grave

2 Ideology of Laissez-faire Describes government attitudes to the welfare of its people in the 19thC Most people accepted that poverty and hardship were not things the government could or should do anything about Governments became increasingly prepared to become involved in social policy Eg. Education Acts, Public Health Acts, Factory & Mines Acts

3 Why did so many believe in LF MONEY – government involvement = cost = taxes have to go up (middle classes having to pay more but the money not being spent on them) “Why should we help people who are too lazy to help themselves?”

4 Samuel Smiles Book called Self Help (1859) “Self help is the root of all genuine growth” = best way to avoid poverty Believed that effort and positive thinking could make anything possible Encouraged people to improve themselves through hard work Led to inventions, fortunes, Industrial Revolution

5 Self Help “Heaven helps those who help themselves” The spirit of self help constitutes the true source of national strength and vigour Smiles warned against governments helping people too much Bad = makes men helpless Role of governments should be very limited

6 Whatever is done for man or classes, to a certain extent takes away the stimulus and necessity of doing for themselves; and where men are subjected to over-guidance and over government, the inevitable tendency is to render them comparatively helpless…it is every day becoming more clearly understood, that the function of government is negative and restrictive, rather than positive and active.

7 Importance? Led to belief poverty could be beaten by hard work and positive thinking alone Smiles said himself that any help given by government to the poor was useless because “no laws, however stringent, can make the idle industrious, the thriftless provident, or the drunken sober” Only way to escape poverty was through your efforts

8 Self Help Average worker could avoid poverty by working hard and saving some wages Savings could be used whenever the worker was out of a job, or became unable to work because of illness or old age Duty of the individual to look after themselves Those that didn’t were either idle, unable or unwilling to save, or drunks

9 What Self Help was there? Worked for those who had a regular income Mostly skilled Could save money in a number of places

10 Places to save if you had a regular income Friendly societies Popular choice, benefits given out based on contributions made. By 1890’s 8,000,000 made a contribution. Also ran social events e.g. gala days, annual parades Savings Banks Popular with servants and those saving for their children. ‘Penny savings banks’ were aimed at the very poor who could only save very small amounts. Encouraged good habits and behaviour The Co-operative Movement Formed by working class. Communities would get together to provide low cost food and services for themselves e.g. a grocery store or a funeral parlour

11 Critics Not everyone liked idea of self help Argued not everyone could save for a ‘rainy day’ Henry Mayhew in his great study of London Labour and the London Poor (1861) identified that casual labourers were unable to save regularly because they did not have regular employment Lack of education and poor health also stopped many improving their lives Not possible for everybody to improve by positive thinking alone

12 Summary Self help meant that people could escape poverty by saving money and living a sensible life. Such ideas were popular Working class were encouraged to save through organisations like Friendly Societies and Savings Banks Working class helped themselves by setting up co- operative stores to provide good food/services at a fair price Not everyone believed that all poor people could save money for a ‘rainy day’


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