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The Market of Philantropy or the Market's Philantropy?

This project explores how a completely market-oriented medical care and 'poor relief' system actually works. The objects of study are Swedish spas which, despite the fact they were private limited companies (ca 1820-1920), also nursed a large number of sick poor people belonging to the surrounding communities. The poor relief legislation declared that the community as a whole was responsible for the well-being of its poorer inhabitants. Since the spas were private companies, parts of the 'poor relief' system became disengaged from the legislation; the community transferred it onto commercial enterprises.

A study of how such a system for medical care actually worked does not yet exist. Therefore this project can explore the market mechanisms that major parts of Sweden's medical care were based upon. The spas care for the sick, but also the efforts of other actors in that branch depended heavily on income, in other words the paying patients. At the time, profit seeking was declared reprehensible; the spa owners were therefore trapped in a dilemma. If they tried to maximise their profits it would jeopardise their philanthropic reputation and in the end also their business. Nearly all of the medical care at this time was based on such pre-conditions. Therefore this project can provide new key knowledge to the understanding of how our society could or could not provide for those in distress. An economic, as well as political problem, that bears no time limit.

Contact Information

Anders Gustafsson

Box 200, 405 30 GÖTEBORG,

Visiting Address:
E 425

031-786 49 05, 0702-481722

Page Manager: Sara Ellis Nilsson|Last update: 2/12/2016

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