Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dignity and dependence

Quoted by Damian Penny from the book The New East End by Geoff Dench, Kate Gavron and Michael Young

....the whole moral order had become inverted by the emphasis placed by the state on individual need. For if what one gets out of the state is determined by need, rather than by what one has put into it, then dignity has gone out of citizenship. Dependency is encouraged, the principle of reciprocity has gone.
(via Damian Penny)


wodge said...


So you should only help people that don't need help?

NoolaBeulah said...

No. You'll notice that the quote says that "the principle of reciprocity has gone". The problem is that welfare is seen as a right that entails no obligation. The relationship is all one way.

Dependency is destructive both of the recipient, who becomes incapable of fending for self, and of the system since it leads to cynicism and abuse. The individual in that state then spreads the ailment because that person's family is brought up to follow in the parent/carer/benefit receiver's footsteps. The backlash that eventually comes can then have its most severe impact on those who really do need help.