If philanthropy is the application of a moral code to redistributive monetary expenditure, a large proportion of the UK government spending is philanthropic in nature.
Ethical responsibility is thus moved from the individual to the state. But this raises the question: whose moral code is being followed by the state?
If Western democracy is viewed as the state being a representative of "the will of the people", then this is tautological (the people will it).
But if instead we take the more realistic(?) view that UK representative democracy is connected to the electorate by coarse, manipulative and inaccurate information; and instead policy is driven by the politico-media complex and civil servants (who may well be operating with the best of intentions); it could be argued that these people do not have the moral authority to impose their own view of morality on the populace.
Given this, why is state-directed philanthropic intervention preferred in the UK versus non state intervention?
Is philanthropy an area where centralised state control is simply more effective?
In an alternative model, national private charities could simply advertise the need (eg homelessness, malnourishment, unemployment) using modern communication technologies that were not available historically, pre-welfare state. Those with wealth could choose to donate (or not). A number of good and bad outcomes would occur and the charities would communicate this, establishing a feedback loop. Donations would rise or fall, and an equilibrium would be reached.
Do any countries repatriate philanthropy to the individual to enable them to follow their own moral code (which would seem to be less authoritarian)?
By philanthropy I mean healthcare, entitlements, social housing, social services, foreign aid and protectionist measures (eg sector subsidies).
Edit: this question is not "why philanthropy" but "why socialised philanthropy (given that the most efficient pricing mechanism AFAIK is the free market)".
Note: I have edited the title of this question to better reflect the actual question being asked. My apologies for not supplying a good title from the outset. The original title was "Why is such a large proportion of the UK tax spend philanthropic?"