Welfare Before the Welfare State
University of Alabama history professor David Beito recently spoke at four schools in central North Carolina about his research into black mutual-aid societies. I write about his intriguing findings here.
Much of Professor Beito’s work has centered around his interest in how people dealt with the problems of poverty, sickness, insurance, education, and so on before the advent of the welfare state. On the whole, voluntary arrangements worked quite well and supplanting them with government redistributive programs has had bad long-run effects.