The early years of the twentieth century saw the emergence in Liverpool of a unique vision of what it might mean to be a citizen in an urban democracy. This owed its inspiration to the coming together of the idealism of the academics at the young University with the practical morality of the City’s merchant philanthropists. Infused as both were by the passion and urgency of the women’s demand for liberation, the result was a totally fresh approach to the problems of the day. This found expression in a commitment to the principle that the right to share in the responsibility for the management of the common affairs of a society must be a universal attribute of citizenship, regardless of gender, religion or class. How this has developed down the years into a demand for the empowerment of the community itself is the stuff of this book. Ironically the Welfare State has resulted in an assumption of control by the executive which has deprived the people of their right to responsibility for what is done in their name. The Disinherited Family of Eleanor Rathbone’s classic book on child allowances has become the Disinherited Society of today. Using history as a launching pad for future planning, this book concludes with a forthright Tract for the Times. This challenges the communitarianism popularised by Amitai Etzioni as lacking in relevance to either the social or economic realities of today.
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