Born on 7th of July 1871
Died on 7th of October 1954
The Quaker Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree was the son of the famous confectionery company’s founder, and eventually became that company’s chairman. Like his father Joseph he was an enlightened manager, bringing in benefits then largely unknown elsewhere such as pensions, a company doctor and dentist, an eight-hour day, and limited workforce participation in decision-making. He made three studies of poverty in York on a scientific basis, one published in 1899, one in 1935, and the last in 1951. The first was ground-breaking, looking at nutritional needs, the price of foods that would meet them, and at other basic necessities, to set a poverty line. It identified low wages as the primary cause of poverty, whereas in 1935 unemployment had become the driver.
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