The Citizen in the Welfare StateReflections on T H Marshall’s Citizenship and Social ClassDr Simon Duffy ￭ The Centre for Welfare Reform￭ 6th June 2013 ￭ Universidade Catolica Portuguesa,Lisbon
Aristotle’s formsAristotle’s forms LeftLeft RightRightMonarchy Socialism ConservatismAristocracyLeft-liberalismRight-liberalismPolity Republicanism
1.Marshall was right to say that citizenship should be central to howwe defend and define the welfare state.2.However the four main traditions of political theory are not theoriesof citizenship and they do not value citizenship.3.Marshall’s focus on collective social rights reveals the limitationsof his vision for citizenship: these are not the key social rights.4.Moreover if we only focus just on rights we miss the two othercritical dimensions of citizenship: duty and freedom.5.Citizenship’s value is to help us to be different yet live togetherrespectfully as equals, in a community that we take care of.6.If we used citizenship to design the welfare state then it wouldlook very different.7.Any move to citizenship will face resistance from the existing elites;however change is possible and desirable.
Marshall was right to say that social rights are an aspectof citizenship and that citizenship should be central tothe design of our society (including the welfare state).a) This means citizenship becomes how we defend thewelfare state - Is this going to make the welfare statestronger?b) But then the welfare state must also be defined bycitizenship - Is the welfare state actually helping toadvance citizenship?Obviously (a) depends on (b).
What is a collective social right?• I have a need forsomething• The state may respond as amatter of right• But I have no power toexercise that right• The state control how tomeet my need
Expectations officially recognised as legitimate are notclaims that must be met in each case when presented.They become, as it were, details in a design forcommunity living. The obligation of the state is towardssociety as a whole, whose remedy in case of default liesin parliament or a local council, instead of to individualcitizens, whose remedy lies in a court of law, or at least ina quasi-judicial tribunal. The maintenance of a fairbalance between these collective and individualelements in social rights is of vital importance to thedemocratic socialist state.T H Marshall, Citizenship and Social Class
Here [in the Greek polis] the meaning of politics, indistinction to its end, is that men in their freedom caninteract with one another, as equals among equals,commanding and obeying one another only inemergencies - that is, in time of war - but otherwisemanaging all their affairs by speaking with andpersuading one another.Aristotle explains that a community is not made out ofequals, but on the contrary of people who are differentand unequal. The community comes into beingthrough equalising, isathenai. [Nich. Ethics 1133 a 14]Arendt, The Promise of Politics
So what does this all mean for the welfare state?
5 possible pro-citizen reforms1.Radical shift of power to local communities2.Protect social rights with constitutional reform3.Remove stigma and poverty in one tax-benefitsystem with guaranteed minimum income4.Give families more control over the education oftheir children5.Reduce spending on institutional care
The welfare state is essential because it exists tomake effective our citizenship.But is it designed to support citizenship or does itundermine citizenship?If the welfare state is failing to support citizenshipthen can we expect people to defend it as aconstitutive part of citizenship?
Resistance, but...1.Groups of citizens are organising and willcontinue to do so, austerity may encourage newthinking2.The current system will continue to be sterile, theon-going drive to out-sourcing will not work3.Moral leaders may ask tougher questions as theproblems continue and injustice grows4.Leadership elites may tire of ruling and seekequality
Our constitution is called a democracy because power isin the hands not of a minority but of the whole people.When it is a question of settling private disputes,everyone is equal before the law; when it is a question ofputting one person before another in positions of publicresponsibility, what counts is not membership of aparticular class, but the actual ability which the manpossesses. No one, so long as he has it in him to be ofservice to the state, is kept in political obscurity becauseof poverty. And just as our political life is free and open,so is our day-to-day life in our relations with each other.Pericles