FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

America welcomed Beveridge and his report with great anticipation; he visited the White House at the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt and embarked on a nationwide speaking tour. In an ironic twist of history, Beveridge had briefly worked at Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in London, and was deeply affected by social work. The full implementation of his report occurred in 1948, the same year the National Association of Social Work was founded in the United States. Social work would have a central role in Beveridge's vision of the welfare state institutions' surveilling and limiting the consequences and costs of the poor, disabled, elderly, and children in a privileged society. Is the welfare state broken, or was it made this way? Beveridge was an economist who propagated a pseudoscience known as eugenics. The undeserving poor, a legacy of the poor laws, should be viewed through a more modern lens of 1942 American and British "Positive" eugenics: subhumans lacking the capacities to become fully human. The new welfare state must be a well-run bureaucracy to manage the poor as a societal problem; ultimately, the solution would be to end affected groups by limiting their reproduction. 5 How would American policymakers use Beveridge's social welfare bureaucracies in the highly racialized mid-20 th century? What consequences did these eugenics-influenced ideas have on creating the so-called war on poverty entitlement programs 16 years later? Like building a house on an irreparably flawed foundation, reforms of the welfare state institutions would be no better than cosmetic upgrades, centered on the theory that governments exist to solve social problems instead of the actual agents of change: parents, families, and communities. 6 Here are some examples on a timeline from 5 Lansley, Stewart. “In the Shadow of the Poor Law.” History Today , 2022, behind-times/shadow-poor-law#:~:text=The%20 Poor%20Law's%20central%20principle,a%20 deliberate%20attempt%20at%20deterrence. 6 Anda, Robert, and Laura Porter. “Self-Healing Communities.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation , 18 Oct. 2017, research/2016/06/self-healing-communities.html. 1970 to 2018: _____________

Kevin Campbell

Elizabeth Wendel

FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022 | 27

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