The origins of modern welfare, published 2010, now on open access

The origins of modern welfare was published in July 2010, by Peter Lang.  The publisher and I agreed at the time of publication that our contractual agreement would expire after ten years, and the rights would revert to me.  I am taking the opportunity now to make this work freely available, on a Creative Commons licence.

The book contains modern English versions of two documents from the early sixteenth century, which have some claim to be the earliest ever studies made in the field of social policy.  The De Subventione Pauperum, by Juan-Luis Vives, was a commissioned academic report, written for the Senate of Bruges, and published in 1525.  It represents, a watershed in thinking about governance, social responsibility and public policy. In Book 2 it proposes a comprehensive civic organisation of welfare services. 

The Forma Subventionis Pauperum, published in 1531, was written in order to justify the scheme to the religious authorities of the Sorbonne.  It is an evaluation of the scheme introduced in Ypres in 1525, reviewing, more or less systematically, the background, aims, methods and outcomes of the policy.  It is a little unnerving to see something clearly recognisable in modern contemporary terms as a policy analysis, in a document published nearly 500 years ago - and for anyone who supposes that public welfare provision begins with the English Poor Law, there are other surprises on the way, including needs assessment, a takeup campaign and free medical care.

There are some differences between the texts as they were originally published and the electronic version.  Because there are two texts, it made sense to offer them as separate documents; there are cross-references between them, but the introduction and notes have been amended so that the two documents can be read independently.    

* Volume 1
        contains J-L Vives, On the relief of the poor (1525).

      * Volume 2
        contains the Ypres report, The government of poor relief (1531).

The PDFs here are presented in a fixed format, so that notes and the text can be read together.

Several other books I have worked on are freely available on open access

      * Stigma and social welfare (Croom Helm 1984)
      * Principles of social welfare (Routledge, 1988)
      * Poverty and social security: concepts and principles (Routledge, 1993)
      * The welfare state: a general theory (Sage, 2000)
      * Liberty, equality, fraternity (Policy Press, 2006), and
      * Poverty: an international glossary (co-edited with Sonia Alvarez Leguizamon and David Gordon) (Zed,2007)

Paul Spicker, Emeritus Professor of Public Policy Robert Gordon University

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