Welfare is the state of well-being. More commonly, it refers to social support for all citizens, sometimes referred to as public aid. In most developed countries, welfare is largely provided by the government and to a lesser extent charities, informal social groups, religious groups, and inter-governmental organizations. The welfare state expands on this concept to include services such as universal healthcare and unemployment insurance.
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
A - F
- There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.
- While economic theory in general may be defined as the theory of how an economic condition or an economic development is determined within an institutional framework, the welfare theory deals with how to judge whether one condition can be said to be better in some way than another and whether it is possible, by altering the institutional framework, to achieve a better condition than the present one.
- A society is a cooperative venture for the mutual advantage of its members.
- Nicholas Barr, Economics Of The Welfare State (Fourth Edition), Chapter 3, Political Theory: Social Justice And The State, p. 42.
- Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
- The state is therefore everyone; the rules within the state are laws which safeguard the welfare of all and which must originate from the welfare of all.
- Salus populi suprema lex esto.
- Translation: Let the welfare of the people be the ultimate law.
- Cicero, De Legibus
- In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us... I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don't disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot box, let him alone, don't disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him positive injury... Let him fall if he cannot stand alone! If the Negro cannot live by the line of eternal justice, so beautifully pictured to you in the illustration used by Mr. Phillips, the fault will not be yours, it will be his who made the Negro, and established that line for his government. Let him live or die by that. If you will only untie his hands, and give him a chance, I think he will live. He will work as readily for himself as the white man. A great many delusions have been swept away by this war. One was, that the Negro would not work; he has proved his ability to work. Another was, that the Negro would not fight; that he possessed only the most sheepish attributes of humanity; was a perfect lamb, or an “Uncle Tom;” disposed to take off his coat whenever required, fold his hands, and be whipped by anybody who wanted to whip him. But the war has proved that there is a great deal of human nature in the Negro.
- A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
- Gerald Ford, presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974).
- I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.
- It is true that if you simply have market capitalism not embedded in a true democratic system, then you will get increasing inequality... And that is why every modern capitalist system has a welfare state and in Europe these welfare states consume 50 percent of GDP, redistribute it in fairer ways. I have always thought the European Union represented a truer embodiment of what I would regard as something like the end of history... The United States' model is a little bit more liberal and therefore we do less redistribution than, let's say, Holland or Sweden, but all modern states do that.
- Francis Fukuyama, as quoted in "Fukuyama: 'Putinism', Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy" (30 January 2016), by *Charles Recknagel, Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty.
G - L
- Doing for people what they can and ought to do for themselves is a dangerous experiment. In the last analysis the welfare of the workers depends upon their own initiative. Whatever is done under the guise of philanthropy or social morality which in any way lessens initiative is the greatest crime that can be committed against the toilers. Let social busy-bodies and professional "public morals experts" in their fads reflect upon the perils they rashly invite under this pretense of social welfare.
- Samuel Gompers, "The Shorter Workday—Its Philosophy," Eight Hours, p. 36–37 (191?).
- It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.
- People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.
- Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.
- Jesus ... combines all duties (1) in one universal rule (which includes within itself both the inner and the outer moral relations of men), namely: Perform your duty for no motive other than unconditioned esteem for duty itself, i.e., love God (the Legislator of all duties) above all else; and (2) in a particular rule, that, namely, which concerns man’s external relation to other men as universal duty: Love every one as yourself, i.e., further his welfare from good-will that is immediate and not derived from motives of self-advantage. These commands are not mere laws of virtue but precepts of holiness which we ought to pursue, and the very pursuit of them is called virtue.
- Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, Book IV, Part 1, Section 1, “The Christian religion as a natural religion”
- The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income.
- Simon Kuznets in report to the Congress, 1934; Cited in: Gernot Kohler, Emilio José Chaves (2003) Globalization: Critical Perspectives. p. 336.
M - R
- The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.
- Financial markets are the machines in which much of human welfare is decided; yet we know more about how our car engines work than about how our global financial system functions. We lurch from crisis to crisis. In a networked world, mayhem in one market spreads instantaneously to all others—and we have only the vaguest of notions how this happens, or how to regulate it.
- Benoît Mandelbrot, The (Mis)Behavior of Markets (2004, 2008) Ch. 13, p. 254–255.
- The unifying progressive contention here is the assertion that America isn’t "investing" enough in the poor; by which is meant the government isn’t spending enough... Obama did acknowledge the importance of family by defending his past criticisms of absent fathers, he went on to declare it will be next to impossible to find 'common ground' on poverty until his critics accept his spending argument.
- The "general welfare" is not the sphere of truth; for truth demands to be declared even if it is ugly and unethical.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Ethics".
- It has always appeared to me that the Democratic Party was incensed and bitter over the fact that slavery was abolished in America. So, since the Democrats could no longer keep blacks in literal chains as slaves, they invented virtual chains to enslave black Americans. Welfare and the ghetto; the liberal plantation.
- When an individual becomes utterly dependent on another person or group to provide all of their emotional, spiritual and physical needs, that individual has given away all of their power. They are allowing another person or persons the ability to pull the proverbial rug out from under them at any given moment. It is a form of slavery, plain and simple. Furthermore, the dependent individual is held down, unable to rise above the level of the person or persons to which they have become dependent upon. I call that evil.
- Brent Parrish, as quoted in "Why Democrats Are Still the Party of Slavery" (28 June 2015), by B. Parrish, The Right Planet.
- The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed; socialism doesn't work.
- Rand Paul, as quoted in Kentucky Tonight (16 June 1998), KET.
- A nation's wealth is too serious a matter to be left to the wealthy. The riches of a nation belong to all, to be shared among all for the general welfare.
- Pierre Stephen Robert Payne, The Corrupt Society - From Ancient Greece To Present-Day America, A Vision of the Uncorrupted Society, p. 284 (1975).
- Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.
- Ronald Reagan, Interview, Los Angeles Times (7 January 1970).
- Liberals fought poverty and poverty won.
- We have here a human as well as an economic problem. When humane considerations are concerned, Americans give them precedence. The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, annual message to the Congress, January 4, 1935.—The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1935, p. 19 (1938).
- It cannot be too often repeated that in this country, in the long run, we all of us tend to go up or go down together. If the average of well-being is high, it means that the average wage-worker, the average farmer, and the average business man are all alike well-off. If the average shrinks, there is not one of these classes which will not feel the shrinkage. Of course, there are always some men who are not affected by good times, just as there are some men who are not affected by bad times. But speaking broadly, it is true that if prosperity comes, all of us tend to share more or less therein, and that if adversity comes each of us, to a greater or less extent, feels the tension.
- The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us, and therefore in public life that man is the best representative of each of us who seeks to do good to each by doing good to all; in other words, whose endeavor it is not to represent any special class and promote merely that class's selfish interests, but to represent all true and honest men of all sections and all classes and to work for their interests by working for our common country. We can keep our government on a sane and healthy basis, we can make and keep our social system what it should be, only on condition of judging each man, not as a member of a class, but on his worth as a man. It is an infamous thing in our American life, and fundamentally treacherous to our institutions, to apply to any man any test save that of his personal worth, or to draw between two sets of men any distinction save the distinction of conduct, the distinction that marks off those who do well and wisely from those who do ill and foolishly. There are good citizens and bad citizens in every class as in every locality, and the attitude of decent people toward great public and social questions should be determined, not by the accidental questions of employment or locality, but by those deep-set principles which represent the innermost souls of men.
- It is not enough to be well-meaning and kindly, but weak; neither is it enough to be strong, unless morality and decency go hand in hand with strength. We must possess the qualities which make us do our duty in our homes and among our neighbors, and in addition we must possess the qualities which are indispensable to the make-up of every great and masterful nation -- the qualities of courage and hardihood, of individual initiative and yet of power to combine for a common end, and above all, the resolute determination to permit no man and no set of men to sunder us one from the other by lines of caste or creed or section. We must act upon the motto of all for each and each for all. There must be ever present in our minds the fundamental truth that in a republic such as ours the only safety is to stand neither for nor against any man because he is rich or because he is poor, because he is engaged in one occupation or another, because he works with his brains or because he works with his hands. We must treat each man on his worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal, because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less.
S - Z
- The only justifiable stopping place for for the expansion of altruism is the point at which all whose welfare can be affected by our actions are included within the circle of altruism. This means that all beings with the capacity to feel pleasure or pain should be included; we can improve their welfare by increasing their pleasures and diminishing their pains.
- Peter Singer, The Expanding Circle - Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress, Chapter 4, Reason, p. 120 (1981).
- What the welfare system and other kinds of governmental programs are doing is paying people to fail. In so far as they fail, they receive the money; in so far as they succeed, even to a moderate extent, the money is taken away.
- Thomas Sowell, during a discussion in Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" television series in 1980.
- We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.