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Southern Paternalism and the American Welfare State: Economics, Politics, and Institutions in the South, 1865-1965 [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (2000) Southern Paternalism and the American Welfare State: Economics, Politics, and Institutions in the South, 1865-1965 [Book Review]. The Independent Review, 4 (3). pp. 452-456. ISSN 2169-3420. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-155505505

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Abstract

The decline of a private system of social welfare on southern cotton plantations, Alston and Ferrie maintain in this sprightly institutionalist history, was the prerequisite for the rise of the national welfare state in the United States. Three conditions, they argue, supported southern paternalism. First, white and especially black tenant farmers and sharecroppers needed well-connected patrons to protect them from antipathetic laws and adverse economic and social norms -- laws and norms fostered and enforced by the privileged class from which patrons could be drawn. Second, plantation owners had an incentive to provide their workers with protection and to facilitate loans to them in order to reduce labor turnover and the monitoring costs of a decentralized production process. Paternalism bought loyalty and hard work. Third, owners opposed any extension of national welfare benefits to southern farm workers because such laws might interfere with patron-client relationships or even substitute a governmental for a private patron. Fortunately for them, the South’s one-party politics and the House and Senate norms designating the most senior members as powerful committee chairmen gave white southerners effective veto power over national social welfare legislation. The combination of these three factors allowed the paternalistic equilibrium to be maintained for a century after the Civil War.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=281PublisherBook review
http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/american-government-politics-and-policy/southern-paternalism-and-american-welfare-state-economics-politics-and-institutions-south-18651965PublisherBook publisher
Additional Information:© 2000 Independent Institute. Book review of: Southern Paternalism and the American Welfare State: Economics, Politics, and Institutions in the South, 1865-1965. By Lee J. Alston and Joseph P. Ferrie. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pp. xii. ISBN: 9780521622103
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-155505505
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-155505505
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ID Code:41762
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Deposited On:08 Nov 2013 21:20
Last Modified:13 Nov 2013 20:51

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