For centuries, cities, nations, individuals and families have had to deal with one of the most enormous social problems – poverty. That’s one of the most ancient social vices. It has been existing since almost since the dawn of the human civilization. It’s typical to pretend that this problem doesn’t exist as it’s not pleasant to deal with, though by simply ignoring it we can’t make it disappear.
That’s so sad, but for most of history, there haven’t been any government controlled poverty assistance programs around the globe. So, the poor had nothing to do, but to rely on the goodness of God or their family members, not to mention the generosity of the public. With the advent of the so-called Social Security in the United States in 1935, the situation started to change for the better.
In fact, the Social Security Act has seen multiple successes. On the other hand, it has also faced many critiques of its structure as well as function. Previously, the vast majority of governments did almost nothing to support their poor population. The given duty was expected to be the burden of families of the poor people, generous individuals and charity groups. However, some governments tried to help their poor citizens in indirect ways.
In 1601, one of the first government-mediated assistance programs was officially approved by the English Parliament. It was passed as the Act for the Relief of the Poor. The given act assigned local parishes, who were responsible for taking of poor people in their district. At the same time, the government didn’t provide any funds to facilitate this newly-imposed social program. So, parishes had to levy taxes in order to finance this program.
In spite of the fact it would be regarded as rather a primitive form of welfare, especially judging by today’s standards, nevertheless, it appeared to be an enormous step towards government-mediated welfare, especially compared with the English system approximately 250 years before it. For instance, in 1349 Parliament officially forbade charity because it might generate laziness. Fortunately, since those times, public attitudes have radically changed regarding the responsibility of people and the government to provide the required assistance to those in need. Limited federal assistance was granted to was veterans as well as their families.
The Progressive movement around the turn of the century in the USA made another great contribution to fighting poverty. From that time not only workers, but also every citizen was granted the right to get access to decent living conditions.
For centuries, cities, nations, individuals and families have had to deal with one of the most enormous social problems – poverty. That’s one of the most ancient social vices. It has been existing since almost since the dawn of the human civilization.