Traduction en français : Ages d'or et les alchimistes de la politique sociale.
This article, is a critique of the quest for a universal explanatory principal on which social welfare policy could or should be based.
Comparing this quest to the alchemist's illusory quest for the philosophers stone the author surveys its historical and philosophical foundations surveying in turn the ideas of the Enlightenment scholars, Adam Smith, Malthus and Ricardo from which the New Right have drawn inspiration.
After showing that the Golden age of Victorian Britain often cited by Right wing analysts had both positive and negative facets and that the Victorians did not believe that free competition would solve all ills, the author examines how socialists and marxists in turn have also indulged in Golden Age theorizing from the opposite end of the political spectrum.
However both policies based on classical political economy and socialist and marxist collectivism having seemingly failed the author suggests that such unitary ideologies are obsolescent and that welfare policy cannot be entirely rational or based on any one single theory, but should be pluralist drawing on traditions of collectivism and individualism.
Furthermore the conflictual coexistence of the two traditions is a precondition for freedom and democracy.
The author stresses the importance of custom in determining values upon which social policy is based, but firmly believes in social planning and the role of non-invasive legal/rational and beaureaucratic processes in the protection of welfare rights.
Mots-clés Pascal : Analyse économique, Politique, Philosophie, Société, Historique, Droit, Planification sociale, Protection sociale, Action sociale, Parti politique, Démocratie
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Economic analysis, Policy, Philosophy, Society, Case history, Right, Social planning, Social protection, Social welfare, Political party, Democracy
Notice produite par :
ENSP - Ecole nationale de la santé publique (devenue EHESP)
Cote : 95/06 V
Code Inist : 002B30A03A. Création : 28/11/1995.