Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Quote of the day

For Adam Smith poverty meant having visibly less than others. But it’s not obvious that Smith’s problem of poverty could be solved simply by handing out food, housing and health care to those at the bottom of the income distribution. Smith argued that people have social as well as physical needs. In our society, working-age adults meet many of these needs through paid employment. Work is not just a source of income, it can also be a source of status, belonging and approval from others.

This view of well-being helps explain why income redistribution on its own will never be enough to guarantee that the needs of the least advantaged are met. When income support payments are linked to tests of employability (as with disability payments) or job search effort (as with unemployment payments), eligibility for the payments is itself a signal (whether we like it or not).
From, via.

1 comment:

dearieme said...

"the needs of the least advantaged": it's a change from the "underprivileged", but it does make me wonder why in 60-odd years of the flourishing of the poverty-pimping professions, they still haven't managed to come up with a non-risible name for their client groups.

To the man in the street,
Who I'm sorry to say,
Is a keen observer of life,
The words "least advantaged" Suggest straight away,
A chav who beats shit from his wife.

(After Auden)