The introduction and first chapter of The Lost Children by Tara Zahra and the first chapter of Cultivating the Masses by David Hoffman both explore the concept of the welfare state. Although these works focus on different groups, Zarah focusing on children and Hoffman focusing on the population as a whole, both authors have come to the same conclusion; a country’s welfare programs are implemented to benefit the country as whole, not necessarily for an individual’s gain.
From the start of reading The Lost Children Zahra writes that programs were implemented to increase the productivity of the country. Mrs. Roch, and American social worker, was assigned to Ruth-Karin Dadowic’s case. Roch described Ruth-Karin as “well built for her age with a strong and firm handshake.” Ruth-Karin was chosen to participate in the Displaced Persons Act, and from this description it is implied she is chosen because of her health and capabilities. She is more likely to be a contributing member of society, and thus increase the productivity of the country. Another example of the true goals of social welfare programs is exemplified through the Spanish Civil War refugees. The social welfare programs only saved children to secure their political, social, and religious loyalties and to transform them into the republican or nationalist militants of the future (Zahar, 16). This was also true of the campaign to rehabilitate Europe’s lost children; it was merely for the future of Europe’s well being (Zahar, 23). In the St. Goin colony, J. M. Alvarez would use his position as director to instill Republican and nationalist values in the wards he was in charge of educating and looking after (Zahar, 26). All of this was to benefit the country, not the individual.
Hoffman’s writing in Cultivating the Masses is directly related to these examples from Zahar’s text. Hoffman wrote that a country was concerned with social welfare to increase productivity of the country. By implementing social welfare programs, it increased the standard of living of the citizens, increasing the productivity of the country (Hoffman, 18-20).
From Hoffman and Zarah, the reader learns that the citizen is merely a pawn for the country. Although it may appear that social welfare is implemented because the country cares about the individual, it is simply not true. A country is merely concerned with it’s well being as a whole, and the benefits trickle down to the individual.