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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Moral Argument in Favor of The Voluntary Provision of Social Services

  • Author(s): Ogilvie, Robert S.
  • et al.

In this paper. I make the argument that if the devolution of the welfare statefrom thefederal /eve/ to the local /eve/ is planned and implemented properly. then Americans could end up being better off I say this because I have found that volunteering to provide a social service in a local voluntary institution can have a profound moral impact on all involved. Such participation can produce better people. and that. I believe. is the essential starting point for the production of a better society. As planners look to affect change they don 't very often look at the level ofthe individual. We need to correct /his omission. as we are currently being presented with a great opportunity to profoundly affect the nature of this country. Citing political theory and the experiences of the volunteers at The Partnership for the Homeless in New York City. Ogilvie contends that voluntary participation in a local organization can create better citizens. His central point is that it is a prime responsibility ofevery law maker andplanner to create these good citizens, that is, citizens who are capable of making informed and sensitive decisions. Furthermore, he argues that these sorts of citizens can only develop out of habituation, usually through voluntary participation in a local organization. Plans about social service provision need to recognize this. and create as many situations as possible for people to be active in decision making and service provision.

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