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Milton Friedman on Welfare State - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 212
Welfare state/public goods/Friedman/Moon: (...) are typical welfare goods public goods (...)? To some degree, perhaps. If we all wanted to live in a society where no one suffered from destitution, and were willing to pay something to see that achieved, then we would all be better off if the government provided a safety net. Reasoning along these lines, Milton Friedman (1962(1): 191) has argued for a minimal welfare state, in which a 'negative income tax' would be employed to provide a subsistence income to people without other means of support. The minimal welfare state would not, however, be an 'institutional welfare state' , since its main concern would be to ensure that everyone had enough income to avoid destitution. Presumably, it would also provide other public goods such as public health and sanitation, for each of us is better off if others are inoculated against infectious diseases, or if the town disposes of every household's sewage and garbage in a sanitary manner.
Vs: but many welfare programmes do not seem to provide public goods: the principal beneficiary of an old age pension is the pensioner, the principal beneficiary of a high school or college education is the student whose skills are improved and whose life is enriched, the principal beneficiary of open heart surgery is the patient whose life is saved, and so forth. >Welfare state/Political philosophy, >Unemployment/Moon.


1. Friedman, Milton (1962): Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Moon, J. Donald 2004. „The Political Theory of the Welfare State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Econ Fried I
Milton Friedman
The role of monetary policy 1968

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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