A Reading List on Welfare
Prepared by Michael Tanner
Read This First
- The Poverty of Welfare: Fighting Poverty in Civil Society by Michael Tanner (Cato Institute, 2003)Looks at welfare after the 1996 reforms, and lays out a comprehensive case for replacing government welfare entirely with private charity.
On the Failure of the Welfare State
- Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980 by Charles Murray (Basic Books, 1984)The seminal book in the field; the one that started the modern welfare reform debate. Some of the figures might be dated, but the reasoning is as fresh as ever.
- Tyranny of Kindness: Dismantling the Welfare System to End Poverty in America by Theresa Funiciello (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995)Yes, she’s a lefty (favoring a guaranteed national income among other things), but you won’t find a better testimony to the degradation of contemporary welfare.
On Compassionate Alternatives to Welfare
- From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State by David Beito ( University of North Carolina Press , 2000)An excellent study of private alternatives to the welfare state.
- The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky (Free Press, 1995)A ground‐breaking history of private charity in America and why it is superior to government‐run welfare. Sometimes a bit heavy on the religious content, but still one of the best defenses of civil society as an alternative to welfare.
- Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians by Gertrude Himmelfarb (Knopf, 1991)A solid historical discussion of changing philosophical attitudes toward the poor.