50 Years Ago: Some Socialist Points on the Beveridge Report
The Times reads into the Report the “confident assurance that the poor need not always be with us”, but this is merely a misuse of terms, and one incidentally for which Beveridge appears not to be responsible. He talks all the time of abolishing “want” by which he avowedly means something quite different from abolishing poverty. By want he means the condition into which the workers fall when their wages stop, not the condition in which they always are because they are carrying the capitalist class on their backs. Beveridge is quite clear about the distinction and says so. Did he not make a statement on December 1 (reported in the BBC news broadcasts but apparently not in the Press) that it had always been his view that want could be abolished within the ranks of the wage-earners without any inroads into the wealth of the rich? He is saying in effect in his Report want could be abolished without interfering with capitalism, but neither he nor the Times want to abolish poverty. But for the poverty of the poor there could be no riches for the rich—a state which he and they find quite acceptable.