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From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967
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From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  6 reviews
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, more Americans belonged to fraternal societies than to any other kind of voluntary association, with the possible exception of churches. Despite the stereotypical image of the lodge as the exclusive domain of white men, fraternalism cut across race, class, and gender lines to include women, African Americans, and im ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 29th 2000 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 2000)
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4.07  · 
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 ·  42 ratings  ·  6 reviews


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Jerrod
This is a nice overview of the history of fraternal orders in the US (with a few tidbits about English friendly societies tossed in). The book describes how individuals (via voluntary mutual aid) could provide themselves with health insurance/sick benefits, life insurance (with some retirement insurance through the selling of endowment policies), and (to some degree) workers' compensation for on the job injuries. Organizations (whose members came from a variety of backgrounds) were able to avoid ...more
Shane
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economic-liberty
Four and a half stars. This is the book I was really looking for when I read "Bowling Alone" by Robert Putnam. While Putnam looks at the much broader grouping of social clubs and societies, I think that by focusing on fraternal organizations Beito gets much closer to the mark.

By the authors own admission this is far from a comprehensive study of fraternal organizations. There were just too many to address them all and with many being "secret societies" records are just too limited. Once the limi
...more
Derek
Mar 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Beito does a very good job exploring the number of ways in which traditional fraternal organizations, founded on the principles of mutual aid, promoted social welfare in the U.S. until the rise of the welfare state in the Great Depression. The widespread and achievements are indeed impressive. But he skirts very lightly around the very selective nature of mutual aid, which appears to weed out those most in need of aid. If even the fraternal organizations of the poor won't help these (the mentall ...more
Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quote:

"The shift from mutual aid and self-help to the welfare state has involved more than a simple bookkeeping transfer of service provision from one set of institutions to another. As many leaders of fraternal societies had feared, much was lost in an exchange that transcended monetary calculations. The old relationships of voluntary reciprocity and autonomy have slowly given way to paternalistic dependency. Instead of mutual aid, the dominant welfare arrangements of Americans have
...more
Craig Bolton
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967 by David T. Beito (2000)"
Eric Harris
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The more I read of history and distant places, the less convinced I am that there are some good things that are inherently government activities. This book, for instance.
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“Societies accomplished important goals that still elude politicians, specialists in public policy, social reformers, and philanthropists. They successfully created vast social and mutual aid networks among the poor that are now almost entirely absent in many atomistic inner cities.” 1 likes
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