chapter  2
20 Pages

Charity, self-interest and welfare: reflections from demographic and family history

From a good deal that has been written in the fields of demographic and family history and from much of the discussion in the more polemical atmosphere of contemporary political debate, there would be little difficulty in detecting an interpretational preference for perceiving the way in which welfare relates to social behaviour. The most readily identifiable preference is that which treats demographic patterns and the familial configurations thereby generated as fundamentally induced in their relationship with social welfare, with regard either to its incidence or its organ ization. English historical research into the family and demographic change is reasonably well supplied with such preferred interpretations.