Monday, October 15, 2012


The WPA was one of FDR's best programs and it seems that Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727-1781) did something similar to combat the famine in Limousin, France, in 1770:
Turgot's most important policy, from the outset of the crisis, is to provide work and salaries for the poor. He explains that in the countryside it is "wages [which are] in default." He therefore proposes to establish "Charity Offices and Workshops," and he asks for central government finance to supplement local resources. The poor who are able to work, he says, "need wages, and the best and most useful alms consist of providing them with the means of earning." Turgot insists in his local instructions that "real poverty" should be "not only relieved, but respected." He is concerned that public charity will "degrade" some of the poor, and he proposes special arrangements to meet the "justified delicacy" of people, especially in the big cities, who are only temporarily in need. He opposes bringing the poor together to distribute "soup or bread," which would be "a sort of authorized mendicity."

The object of the charity workshops is "to spread money among the people." This is to be done through useful "public works," such as building roads and improving "public places"; Turgot solicits suggestions from small communities for works which could be useful to "the commerce of the Province," and which promote "the employment of women."
SOURCE: Economic sentiments : Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment by Emma Rothschild, page 79.

No comments: