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Individualists Who Co-operate
Education & Welfare Reform Benefitting a Free People
By David G. Green
Distributed by Coronet Books
$22.50 Paper Original
The poor performance of Britain's public services is a frequent cause of contention, with political parties making large promises and pouring ever greater amounts of money into them.
In Individualists who Cooperate David Green argues that, after record increases in funding, the theory that failures in public services are due to the fact that we are not spending enough has been tested to destruction: the problem resides in the fact that we have now reached the limits of effective political action. The government is trying to do too much.
We need to reframe the constitutional settlement that defines the relationship between the state and the individual in civil society. The state should be confined to the legitimate tasks that are within its competence, thus allowing greater scope for private enterprise and social entrpreneurs to supply public services more effectively. At the moment, most people in the middle-income bracket pay roughly the same amount in taxes as they receive in services. It would be more efficient to leave them with their own money to spend as they see fit.
David Green argues that, with regard to welfare dependency, the guiding principle should not be 'no one should ever be poor' but that 'no one who works hard should be poor'. He recommends reforming the benefits system so that more people are brought into the workforce full-time.
For many years the state-run education system has failed the least fortunate children, a failure David Green attributes to inherent flaws in the political process, especially the over-concentration of power and the suppression of social entrepreneurs. He recommends that the government should transfer state schools to the independent sector, introduce couchers and make it easier for new schools to open.
"The challenge is to create a sphere of public liberty in which private individuals can pursue the common good in co-operation with one another".