Pauperland and the Inquiry into Hunger in Britain.

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

On the eve of the release of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in Britain this should be essential reading:

Pauperland. Poverty and the Poor in Britain. Jeremy Seabrook. Hurst & Company.

Pauperland is the story of how “the laws of commerce” became the “laws of God” and of those who have suffered along the way.

It is a history of attitudes towards the poor, both employed and unemployed. Seabrook tells us those in authority who consider that poverty is caused by the “wilful perversity of poor”. Making them bear responsibility for their misbehaviour, and reforming them, from the Workhouse to Mandatory Work Activity and the Community Action Programme is a long and harrowing tale. One thread runs through it: the ‘idle’ need to be reformed for their own good – by force, hunger, or, more recently by ‘sanctions’.

Perhaps the best way to discuss this fine book is…

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