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Prior , Jo Campling. Flyer Sample chapter. Recommend to library. Paperback - Hardcover - Ebook - This book seeks to counter the recent trend of speculation about the impact of globalization upon welfare states. It begins by asking two related questions: 'What exactly is globalization? Firstly the key theoretical and conceptual debates are reviewed and the existing perspectives on globalization and welfare policy change are assessed. The text moves on to explore and challenge the more apocalyptic economic perspectives on globalization and welfare that suggest permanent retrenchment.

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Excerpt from Chapter 1. Table of Contents. Tables and Figures. More in Sociology—Race, Class, and Gender.

MaxPo Impromptu

I would like to suggest that we look at these issues, partly through the lens of political theory, partly from the perspective of social science, partly in the context of historical and structural change, and partly from the viewpoint of organised mass politics over the course of the twentieth century.

Some part of this change can be explained simply in terms of a continuous process of cross-fertilisation between liberalism and other more collectivist intellectual traditions. But part at least of the shift within liberal social philosophy must be seen as intrinsic to and arising from within liberalism itself. The very individualism of early liberalism, its central concern with personal freedom, and its emphasis on the universal attributes of the basic human psyche, all contained within themselves the seeds of a rather different approach to the question of state welfare.

Contested welfare states : welfare attitudes in Europe and beyond

As market society grew ever more extensive, certain strands in nineteenth-century liberal thought became increasingly uneasy with a vision of freedom that was so closely tied to absolute property rights — property rights which in practice were enjoyed by so few people. The writings of J. The liberal wing of latenineteenth century philosophical Idealism, often seen in Germany, Britain, the United States and elsewhere, as a bulwark of voluntarism and resistance to state welfare, nevertheless also harboured the alternative principle enunciated by Hegel — that the conflict between post civic equality and the vast pyramid of market-based inequality needed to be mitigated by some measure of public welfare provision as an automatic and impersonal citizen-right Similarly, the liberal theory of contract — which had earlier seemed to preclude public welfare as a deplorable residue of feudalism — came to be viewed as a principle that precisely fitted the structure and underlying principle of contributory social insurance; a system which offered benefits not as a badge of suppliant and inferior.


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And even the state itself came to be viewed by many liberal theorists in a new and unexpected fashion. Liberalism has always had a close intellectual affinity with the analytical and empirical social sciences, viewing them as a tool of rational explanation and a means of understanding the behaviour of individuals and social groups. Early liberal distaste for public welfare had been closely linked to and grounded upon the self-regulating models of economic behaviour advanced by the theorists of physiocracy and classical political economy; like irregularities in quantum mechanics, irregularities in employment, distribution, and demand for goods and capital were widely deemed to be automatically self-correcting.

And, similarly, early liberal. In either case, outcomes were deemed to be predictable and human beings could therefore secure their own welfare by effort, prudence and individual rational planning. In the later nineteenth and early twentieth century, however, it increasingly lost its credibility among progressive liberal theorists, in the face of large-scale urbanisation, rising unemployment, mass poverty, and the mounting impact of international trade depression.

The earliest liberal moves towards positive interventionism in social welfare came during the midnineteenth century in all western European countries in the spheres of public health and the treatment of epidemic disease — problems increasingly agreed to be beyond the scope of individual rational calculation Liberal statisticians in France, Britain, Italy and elsewhere began to discover that, although there were predictable regularities in socioeconomic experience, these regularities were much more significant for the mass than for the individual; not just humanitarian sentiment but advanced statistical and actuarial science therefore seemed to point towards collective rather than individual provision against the hazards of sickness, accident and old age Hobson suggested instead that the market allocation of wealth and income was in itself responsible for the phenomenon of mass unemployment, through an overall failure of effective demand The atomism and individualism of early liberal social-welfare thought was clearly attuned to a model of society where, in theory at least, everyone might aspire to own property and to become his own master.

It was much less comfortable with the world of. All these trends in twentieth-century society were fundamentally hostile to that earlier culture of liberalism, with its high evaluation of individual autonomy, voluntarism, diversity, rationality, internationalism and peace.

Contested welfare states : welfare attitudes in Europe and beyond

Nevertheless, it was arguably these large-scale structural factors, even more than the permeation of collectivist and interventionist political and social ideas, that led throughout Europe and elsewhere to the implementation of modern welfare states. The impact of two world wars transformed the nature and scale of advanced industrial production in such a way as to make the private and voluntaristic savings and self-help schemes cherished by nineteenth-century liberals increasingly remote and irrelevant for the vast mass of semi-skilled industrial workers.

Welfare State and Social Democracy

Similarly in many countries conscription and mobilisation transformed the civic status of pensions, social insurance, family allowances, and other forms of public social welfare. And reinforcing the impact of the worlds war was the shadow of Bolshevism, Stalinism, and later of the prolonged Soviet presence in eastern Europe. From through to , writings on social policy formation in Britain, Europe and North America often hint at the underlying presence of a significant, often lowkey, but nevertheless continuous thread — the belief that social security was no longer just a cure for poverty, but a means of inoculating the organised.

All of this of course was paralleled by a prolonged crisis in the history of liberalism as an organised political movement, whose effects are too well-known to require any detailed comment. Suffice it to say that since the end of the first world war no Liberal party has ever formed a majority government in any major European country. In nearly all countries, persons of liberal intellectual conviction have been increasingly sucked into the ranks of various kinds of conservative, nationalist, socialist, and environmentalist parties; doubtless in the process influencing those other parties, but nevertheless singularly failing to recover for liberalism the high profile in organised mass politics that it attained in the nineteenth century.

In Italy, schemes for pensions and comprehensive health care, devised during the first world war by reformist liberals under the government of Nitti, were appropriated initially by fascists, and later by communists and social Catholics Similar liberal initiatives were taken over in Britain by Labour and Conservatives; in France by Popular frontists and later by Gaullists and socialists; and in Scandinavia by social democrats Moreover, in the process of such absorption many of these ideas were adapted in ways often quite alien to the objectives of their original progenitors.

In many instances, the introduction of welfare-state regimes was accompanied by vast new semipolitical patronage networks involving not just benefits for welfare-clients, but jobs and careers for welfare-providers of a kind that earlier liberals would have perceived as corrupt and abhorrent.

Liberalism’s rapprochment with the Welfare State

State fiscal and monetary techniques for stabilising employment, envisaged in the s by liberal economists like Keynes, Beveridge and Alvin Hansen as the counterpart of restraining wage-inflation, became in the s and 70s a great international engine of inflationary pressure Promises either to cut welfare spending or to abolish poverty by more generous welfare payments often both simultaneously have become central to the electoral. Does this therefore mean that, despite the fertility of earlier twentieth-century liberal thought on social policy, liberalism in practice has become largely irrelevant to the evolution of welfare states?

Contested Welfare States: Welfare Attitudes in Europe and Beyond | Edited by Stefan Svallfors

On one level, the answers to this questions must be yes. As indicated above, liberals in the past have often been the script-writers, but very rarely the producers and directors of systems of state welfare. And, despite occasional resurgences of support in Germany, Britain and elsewhere, the prospect of organised Liberal parties gaining direct control over government social welfare programmes seems tenuous.