Donation Without Domination: Private Charity and Republican Liberty
33 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 23, 2017
Contemporary republicans have adopted a less-than-charitable attitude toward private beneficence, especially when it is directed to the poor, worrying that rich patrons may be in a position to exercise arbitrary power over their impoverished clients. These concerns have led them to support impartial public provision by way of state welfare programs, including an unconditional basic income (UBI). In contrast to this administrative model of public welfare, I will propose a competitive model in which the state regulates and subsidizes a decentralized and nonstatist provision of support for the poor. This model will fix the historically objectionable features of private provision by having the state prevent collusion among private charities, deliver information to recipients about alternative sources of assistance, and give substantial grants to charities as well as tax incentives and vouchers to donors. I will contend that such an approach would do a better job of minimizing domination of the poor than traditional welfare states and may prove more politically feasible than a UBI, at least in the near term in certain national contexts.
Keywords: Republicanism, Markets, Charity, Welfare, Unconditional Basic Income, Philip Pettit
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