9.18-9.25 - American Politics and Social Welfare Policy...

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American Politics and Social Welfare Policy 9.18-9.25 (Elizabethan) Poor Law – 1601 - parish/local o principle of local responsibility - work o you had to work to receive relief - “outdoor relief” Agriculture transformed from subsistence operation to a commercial operation - crops raised not just to support family, but to sell - the aristocracy became more involved in agriculture; thus, it had a stake in the capitalist economy o this partly explains Britain’s relatively peaceful democratic transition As Britain industrializes, output increases rapidly/exponentially; new products are being “mass produced” as factories emerge and organization of economy changes - both at home and abroad, Britain had large and growing markets for its goods o domestic: as people produce things themselves to a lesser extent, they must purchase factory-made goods o abroad: Britain sells its products to colonies (from where they imported raw materials to manufacture products) - Britain needed a supply of cheap labor to produce goods cheaply - Potential problem of many citizens being no longer engaged in production of food to support/feed themselves; if increasing numbers are being thrown of land and working in cities, you must produce enough food to sustain society o Agricultural yields improved, rendering this fear harmless Before industrialization, only path to wealth was landownership; now, as economy grows, new avenues to wealth emerge, such as factory ownership - at the same time, there are more people dependent on industrial work and wage labor to sustain themselves o increasingly exposed to cycles of market economy Factory growth/industrialization is destroying traditional way of life - people begin to stream away from traditional villages and tight connections and relief structure “Commodification of labor” – Karl Pollanyi - commodity: good that is produced to be sold on the market - commodities are interchangeable, so people become more or less interchangeable, impersonal factors or production - for this system to work, there must be incentives for people to leave traditional lives and, for instance, move to cities to work in factories
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Things prevent market-based society from fully emerging - resistance partly comes from Poor Law system, since leaving village/parish means you leave relief system and Poor Law encouraged people to stay home - Poor Law competes with market economy Who supported Poor Law system? - those who maintained control of land nobles o aristocracy still derived power from control of countryside; as peasants leave, their control diminishes - the Church - artisans (tailors, shoemakers, etc.) and other skilled laborers whose work was being replaced by machines - peasants Both (some of) aristocracy and peasantry, unusually linked, feel threatened by new system - aristocracy lost traditional wealth, peasants lose traditional protections Who supported new market society? -
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course POLS American P taught by Professor Lieberman during the Spring '08 term at Columbia.

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9.18-9.25 - American Politics and Social Welfare Policy...

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