chapter  5
23 Pages

The Role of Voluntary Action

Although Beveridge believed in minimal state intervention he was not an uncritical enthusiast or apologist for the market. He deprecated the selfish motive and believed in 'making and keeping something other than pursuit of gain as the dominant force in society' (extract SB). It has already been argued that Beveridge's third report, Voluntary Action (1948), is a crucial lost text which presents Beveridge's blueprint for the development of privace welfare provision in a society where the state had accepted an enlarged responsibility for full employment and social security. With its accompanying volume of evidence this text directly provides an analysis of the survival prospects of the friendly societies which had traditionally organized private health insurance on a non-profit-making basis. Although the friendly societies have since declined towards extinction, Voluntary Action is a text of unique value because Beveridge here develops his vision of how a large 'voluntary action' sector could function as a kind of buffer zone between the state and the market.