Posted by John W on April 27, 1998 at 02:28:59:
In response to Partial agreement, written by Caroline on April 26, 1998 at 12:38:54
You are absolutely right. What is interesting is the way early modern England was , it seems , scared of inventing new institutions. So they loaded any new functions onto the existing local govermnent, which consisted only of the parish and the Commissionof the Peace--the JPs. What is also fascinating, but a bit technical , is the way in which the parish represents the last survival of the mutuality which governed mediaeval society--the sense of responsibility of all for all. The utilitarians had deliberately to break that sense in instituting a capitalist society, and did so, finally with the New Poor Law. Speenhamland was a mistaken and disastrous, burt probably well-intended attemt tpo continue some elements of that old distributist attitude.
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