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Achieving a Social State
What can we learn from Beveridge's Giant Evils?

Zoe Williams 25/2/13

Think piece

Seventy years ago William Beveridge laid the foundations for the Welfare State. His Report identified five Giant Evil’s which plagued society – Want, Ignorance, Idleness, Squalor and Disease –and asserted that it was the duty of the state to root out these Evils.

This introductory Think Piece is the first paper in the Social State series of work. By addressing each Giant Evil and the policy solutions advocated by Beveridge to tackle them seventy years ago, new priorities for the welfare state in 2015 Britain are identified.

This paper asserts that by replacing Want with Inequality; Idleness with Greed; fighting a different kind of Ignorance; attacking Squalor with fresh vigour; remembering Disease for the foe that it once was, and could be again; and recognising the continuing threat of Disunity; we have our own Giant Evils. 

The policy papers following on from this Think Piece will look at the questions raised by Beveridge at the introduction of the welfare state seventy years ago, and will attempt to locate a path forward for the welfare state in 2015 Britain.

This paper and the other papers in the series were discussed at the Achieving the Social State event on Wednesday 13 March 2013 at the London School of Economics. Find out more here and catch up on the online debate through our Storify of the event.

The views, policy proposals and comments on this site do not represent the collective views of Class but only the views of the authors.

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