Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 38.3

A Universal Social Minimum — Half-baked ‘Apple Pie in the Sky’? A Reply to Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux

Published on 1 May 2007

American soldiers, when asked why they were fighting in World War II, were said to reply ‘for mom and apple pie’ – both being unassailable American virtues, impossible to argue against. The universal social minimum is far from being accepted as ‘apple pie’, particularly in the land where this phrase originated.

It would be hard to find a country with an equal hostility to welfare, benefits and social protection. The same applies to many other countries, poor or rich. Having had many discussions with government officials and even NGO colleagues, it is clear that there the predominant mood is to blame the poor for their own condition and that providing ‘handouts’ or letting people ‘get something for nothing’ will just make things worse.

When you get down to policy detail you should not underestimate the depth of anti-poor prejudice. So the universal social minimum is far from ‘apple pie’.

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IDS Bulletin 38.3

Cite this publication

Thomson, K. (2007) A Universal Social Minimum — Half?baked ‘Apple Pie in the Sky’? A Reply to Sabates?Wheeler and Devereux. IDS Bulletin 38(3): 64-65

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Koy Thomson

Publication details

Thomson, Koy
IDS Bulletin, volume 38, issue 3