While your view is legitimate Frenchy and I thank you for your contribution your "Golden Age" rehtoric is historically inaccurate and thankfully impossible as realistic policy in the modern world.
: In America, and probably in Europe too, social "welfare" was a function of family. When a person, say a man with a family became unemployed, his immediate family, brother, sister, uncle, etc. would help him out until he found another job. There was a great benefit to this for everyone. The persons providing the temporary assistance always knew to what degree the person being assisted was earnest in his search. If you caught him wasting time there would be a breif heart to heart exchange. The person being assisted would either 'shape up or ship out'.
That is assuming that the entire extended family isnt also seeking work, and have the adequate resources which wasnt always the case, the abject failure of such policies accompanied by the violence of the swing riots and King Ludd campaigns was what led to the first government intervention in the area of welfare in the form of the the Poor Law.
: Another source of assitance was the local church. Small and temporary grants or loans could be provided by priests, pastors and rabbis to assist those in difficult financial times until they got back on their feet.
This is a myth again, in Britain the priests and pastors provision of welfare generally varied incredibly between the regions which where divided and enforced as modern day borders are, in one region a religious authority may have interpretted the bible correctly and realised it's duty to the poor and the common people while in others the religious authorities greed fat on the communities donations and provided nothing.
The variety of provision lead to people moving across the regions and violence and a national, co-ordinated policy was required to prevent looting etc. hence the Poor Law.
:The same benefit was applicable here as with assistance from the immediate family; is the recipient earnest in his search for employment?
Who was providing the employment, you are talking about a time when the world was in transition between fuedalism and liberal capitalism, in some instances, or regions staying with the example of Britain, parternalistic fuedalism triumphed in which case there was much employment and no need for welfare, in others where capitalism triumphed there was disorder and chaos as the unemployed where invented and welfare didnt exist.
: A similar system is used today amongst Koreans living in America, a system with origins in Asia; that community pools it's resources together and makes low interest loans to those who need financial assistance. When the funds are repaid they are then able to help others by contributing to that community fund.
Now this is more interesting, please could you provide further details about this because it sounds like Proudhons idea of Mutualist banking and is a preferable state of affairs to capitalism and the model that I'm considering for my dissertation.
: These are, as you suggest, community based. The thing that is common is the lack of government involvement via taxes and/or regulations. Those things are worked out by the individuals who offer the assistance so one entity may have different rules than another entity. These private initiatives are the real source of 'community'.
Which communities have these voluntary associations developed in most rapidly? The middle class ones with educated people and time on thier hands besides employment? Local level state co-ordination is necessary to ensure equal provision across the various communities.
:Creating bureaucracies, at whatever level, local, state, federal, only creates an entity guaranteed to ensure a given 'problem' will not only never be solved, but an entity that will over time enlarge itself as well as increase it's power.
The dictionary defines bureaucracy as efficiency but I feel you are using the terminoogy in the sense of reactionary prejudiced liberalism but I take your point the paper mazes are a legitimate criticism of government initiatives but the issue isnt the government bad anything else good, there can be public or private bureaucracy.
: Private initiatives may not provide 100% solutions, but what does?
Then why are these "Private" initiatives preferable to public ones?