The Politics of Social Welfare
The Collapse of the Centre and Rise of the Right
The development of the welfare state has been a central concern across the political spectrum since the breakdown of the Keynesian economic model in the 1970s. The Politics of Social Welfare examines how the apparent consensus on social welfare issues was undermined at both practical and theoretical levels. Major elements of the welfare state did survive the downsizing projects of the 1980s, but there was a significant and lasting transformation of the environment in which social welfare matters were discussed. European social democrats and American liberals effectively conceded that the welfare system does not always serve the best interests of the poor. The focus on the American experience highlights the manner in which the right have been able to deride previous antipoverty efforts and exploit concepts such as `the feminization of poverty', the `underclass' the and `dependency culture'. In contrast the centre and the left, inhibited by their perception of the politics of taxing and spending, have been unable to articulate their ideas in a similarly populist fashion.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`A particularly insightful analysis of the dynamic in the interplay between American social values and social forces is provided by Alex Waddan.' -- Aliki Coudroglou, Readings `This should be a valuable source both for students of comparative social policy and for students of American politics.' -- Michael Hill, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK `The grip of conservative ideas on the political agendas, and of conservative politicians on political institutions has been a feature of the latter part of the twentieth century in the USA, the UK and other western countries. . . . Waddan traces the victory of the new fight in divorcing benefits policy from concepts of social justice, and identifies the existence and heritage of a liberal idea in the American polity. He sets the stage for the policy battles at the turn of the century, quite correctly posing the question in the last section of this fine book, whether there is "anywhere left to go?"' -- Philip Davies, De Montfort University, UK