"In regard to the financial resources of Alfred we know but little. Probably they were great, considering the extent and population of the little kingdom over which he ruled, but inconsiderable in comparison with the revenues of England at the present day. To build fortresses, construct a navy, and keep in pay a considerable military force,--to say nothing of his own private expenditure and the expense of his court, his public improvements, the endowment of churches, the support of schools, THE RELIEF OF THE POOR, and keeping the highways and bridges in repair,--required a large income. This was derived from the public revenues, crown lands, and private property. The public revenue was raised chiefly by customs, tolls, and fines. The crown lands were very extensive, as well as the private property of the sovereign, as he had large estates in every county of his kingdom.
But whatever his income, he set apart ... one-eighth for the poor, besides a considerable sum for foreigners, whom he liberally patronized."
the church support of the poor as well as of itself was from money collected by taxes and given by the king to the Church, normal routine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Poor_Laws doesn't go back as far as King Alfred, but it shows also that wage restrictions were in play to prevent exploitation by the few laborers after the plague. Obviously the concept of govt. intervention in the economy predated "socialism."
Though it refers to charity as voluntary, the tax like required support of the church, or church getting a cut of taxes, some of which was used to support the poor, is not mentioned but clearly is not entirely "voluntary." It is an enforcement of Biblical standards of morality, which go beyond sexual issues into economic ones. This included in the medieval times, PROHIBITION OF LENDING AT ANY DEGREE OF INTEREST.
The conniving Venetians persuaded the pope eventually to redefine "usury" from ANY interest to excessive interest. Calvin did the same for the protestant scene, and Venetian influence was involved in creating the Reformation AND the counter reformation! This of course insured wars and so forth that would require borrowing money from the Venetians....
http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/programs/poor-laws/ discusses the scene in AD 1601 et seq, notice the interference in families and restriction on travel way predate "socialism" after all the family as basic unit of society is not supreme, but the foundation and producer of society which the govt. is to direct to make sure society runs right so the family can be an object of direction also.
The Constitution clause about freedom of travel is not about driver's licenses, or toll bridges, but about the old feudal holdover rules that required passports and permits for travel within the king's realm. This was also present in Russia and other lands. you had to explain yourself.
scroll down for King Alfred's efforts at public education, and his writing on the necessity of individuals being in shape to do their duties if the king is to rule the land effectively download pdf. Bear in mind that all royal efforts at anything came from taxes.
references to support efforts for the poor click on each page segment shown for entire page.
plough taxes later became excessive and were opposed, they had to do with other things than the poor, so cost more.
Biblical basis for compulsory charity, in addition to charity done as individuals. THIS IS NOT PART OF THE RITUAL CODE WHICH IS WHAT PAUL SAYS IS SUPERCEDED IN THEREFORE ABROGATED BY CHRIST, but consistent with the rest of the moral code which he reiterates.
Deuteronomy 26:12, 13 third year tithe to go to the levite, the poor, the stranger, the orphan, the widow, and notice a PUBLIC REPORT so A PUBLIC EXAMINATION is made to be sure this was done.
Tithing applied only to people who were producing a lot farmers and so forth, high income earners now maybe, it is not supposed to be required of the underprivileged like churches demand poor members fork over (and support rich ministers), it is a tenth OF YOUR INCREASE, in other words, a capital gains tax.
12"When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13"You shall say before the LORD your God, 'I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.…"