Poverty, Public Health: Ideogies

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  • Contemporary Theories
    • Thomas Malthus
      • Argued that population had an inbuilt tendency to rise and outstrip all available food supplies- the Poor Law made the situation worse because the poor would have more and more children so they could claim more and more relief.
      • He was an economist and his views were highly valued
      • Favoured the abolition of the Poor Law - ther poor would then keep their families small> no financial advantage in them having lots of children
    • Jeremy Bentham
      • theory of utilitarianism: society should be organised to secure the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people,
        • if wages and prices found their true level in a free market and all state institutions like the Poor Law centrally agreed standards.
      • Outdoor relief should be abolished
      • responsibility for poor given to profit-making private company.
    • Edwin Chadwick
      • Developed Bentham's ideas
        • The able bodied poor should be kept in workhouses with worse conditions than outside
          • with a centralised, controlled authority would reduce the poor rate
            • and giving relief to the needy
    • David Ricardo
      • reached same conclusions as Malthus
        • put forward the idea of 'iron law of wage'/  believing there was a wages fund in which money from the wages and poor relief was paid
          • suggested less money was available for wages as more people were drawn to pauperism thus draining the wages fund
    • Tom Paine
      • republican who criticized Poor Laws as it was inadequate
        • proposed property tax on the very rich to support systems for the poor


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