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.
- 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.
- I care deeply about those who struggle to get by — but I believe the best thing to do is help them stand on their own two feet. And no, that’s not saying, "You're on your own," but, "We are on your side, helping you be all you can." And I believe in something for something; not something for nothing.
- Salus populi suprema lex esto.
- Translation: Let the welfare of the people be the ultimate law.
- Cicero, De Legibus
- I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan, as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
- "Veto of the Texas Seed Bill" (16 February 1887)
G - L
- Isn’t it possible that a generous, far-reaching welfare state depletes people’s sense of drive, purpose, and self-respect, and enables them to explore chemical forms of happiness?
- 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?).
- 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.
- Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
- Abraham Lincoln, reply to New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association (March 21, 1864), Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), vol. 7, p. 259–60.
M - R
- 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.
- These examples confuse effort with result, one of the most common mistakes of this kind is designing systems around the wrong goal. Maybe the worst mistake this kind has been the adoption of the GNP as the measure of national economic success. [...] If you define the goal of a society as GNP, that society will do its best to produce GNP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency unless you define a goal and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency.
- 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".
- 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).
- 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.