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Liberalism and the Welfare StateEconomists and Arguments for the Welfare State$
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Roger E. Backhouse, Bradley W. Bateman, Tamotsu Nishizawa, and Dieter Plehwe

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190676681.001.0001

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Liberalism and the Welfare State in Britain, 1890–1945

Liberalism and the Welfare State in Britain, 1890–1945

(p.25) 1 Liberalism and the Welfare State in Britain, 1890–1945
Liberalism and the Welfare State

Roger E. Backhouse

Bradley W. Bateman

Tamotsu Nishizawa

Oxford University Press

This chapter establishes that the British welfare state was the creation of Liberals as much as socialists. By the early twentieth century, the “New Liberalism” was moving the Liberal Party away from Gladstonian Liberalism, and the Asquith government took major steps toward a welfare state before World War I. The economists arguing for the welfare state included many Liberals, notably Alfred Marshall, J. A. Hobson, A. C. Pigou, William Beveridge, and John Maynard Keynes. British Liberalism was varied, and influential strands within it were strongly supportive of the welfare state. Beveridge and Keynes, in particular, were responsible for much of the intellectual architecture of the welfare state as it was implemented by the first postwar Labour government of Clement Attlee.

Keywords:   Asquith, Attlee, Beveridge, Keynes, welfare state, Liberalism, New Liberalism

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