Democracy and Exchange
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Democracy and Exchange

Schumpeter, Galbraith, T.H. Marshall, Titmuss and Adam Smith

David Reisman

Democracy is the rule of the people. Exchange is supply and demand. Individualism, agreement, tolerance and choice are the underlying values that make possible the productive collaboration of the market and the state. This book assesses the theories of democracy and exchange of five interdisciplinary thinkers who tried to unite political and economic reasoning into a single theory of moderation and pragmatic management.
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Chapter 11: Titmuss: Welfare as Good Conduct

David Reisman


The subject of this chapter is the duty to care. It is an essay in social economics in the tautological sense that resources must be allocated and choices have to be made. Yet it is also an essay in ethical values, in functioning communities and the right relationships upon which they depend. Richard Titmuss was an interventionist who wanted the State to provide a dense and comprehensive network of welfare services available to all on the basis of a citizenship shared. He was also a believer in normative holism who wanted the State not just to correct a market failure but also to actualise a consensual striving. To Titmuss the welfare State was another name for good conduct, for neighbourliness and the freedom to share. His philosophy of fraternalism, neither the private vice of cupidity nor the arrogant bossiness of all-knowing Webbs who know best, is a middle ground with a mission. It cannot be captured by the stark Hayekian polarities of liberty versus collectivism. The chapter is divided into three sections. Section 11.1, ‘The evolution of the vision’, traces Titmuss’s development as a political sociologist of democracy beyond exchange from the inadequate birth rates of the stunted 1930s to the solidarity through service of the Second World War, to the demand for taxes and the gift of blood that typified generous Britain at its post-Attlee summit. Section 11.2, ‘The intellectual system’, guessing at the completed puzzle that Titmuss himself never fully assembled, argues that Titmuss on welfare is the...

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