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Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility (For and Against) Paperback – August 13, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0521564618 ISBN-10: 0521564611

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Product Details

  • Series: For and Against
  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521564611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521564618
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,443,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...an excellent piece of work. ...written with an air of sweet reasonableness..." Daniel Shapiro, Reason

Book Description

The issue of social welfare and individual responsibility has become a topic of international public debate in recent years as politicians around the world now question the legitimacy of state-funded welfare programs. David Schmidtz and Robert Goodin debate the ethical merits of individual versus collective responsibility for welfare. David Schmidtz argues that social welfare policy should prepare people for responsible adulthood rather than try to make that unnecessary. Robert Goodin argues against the individualization of welfare policy and expounds the virtues of collective responsibility.

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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on May 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
David Schmidtz and Robert E. Goodin present a point-counterpoint discussion of the role of government in social welfare programs. This book explains the basic disagreements underlying the social welfare debate. David Schmidtz reasonably presents the conservative argument, but does not address what to do with people who truly cannot contribute to the economy. Goodin stays more clearly on topic, particularly when dismantling arguments for "self-reliance," but is less persuasive when he discusses the fate of displaced workers. Schmidtz is willing to accept more people suffering today as the price of progress. However, his argument is weakened by his use of out-dated statistics, which cast a shadow on his other assertions. Goodin prefers to sacrifice some progress to help those who are suffering today. Although neither writer anticipated the recent economic boom, which exposes flaws in both arguments, we [...] still recommend this valuable book as a serious study of social policy.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Matthew on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Schmidtz starts the first half of this book with the most awkward, beat around the bush, euphemistic reframing of good old fashioned teleological social darwinism. Robert Goodin then swoops in and destroys his argument piece by piece. Worth a read to see how Libertarians continue to fail after Nozick!
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