The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

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In an age of government imposed austerity, and after 30 years of neo-liberal restructuring, the future of the welfare state looks increasingly uncertain. Asbjorn Wahl offers an accessible analysis of the situation across Europe, identifies the most important challenges and presents practical proposals for combating the assault on welfare. Wahl argues that the welfare state should be seen as the result of a class compromise forged in the 20th century, which means that it cannot easily be exported internationally. He considers the enormous shifts in power relations and the profound internal changes to the welfare state which have occurred during the neo-liberal era, pointing to the paradigm shift that the welfare state is going through. This is illustrated by the shift from welfare to workfare and increased top-down control. As well as being a fascinating study in its own right that will appeal to students of economics and politics, The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State also points to an alternative way forward for the trade union movement based on concrete examples of struggles and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 134 x 214 x 16mm | 299.37g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 10 figures, 4 tables
  • 0745331394
  • 9780745331393
  • 899,625

Review quote

With his focus on the shift in the balance of power behind the flourishing and now the destruction of social democracy Asbjorn Wahl has produced one of the best analyses of the politics of the welfare state. He also draws on ideas from struggles across the world for building a new power for democratic ownership of the economy - the only basis on which our social rights can have a future. -- Hilary Wainwright, editor of Red Pepper and author of Reclaim the State (2003, 2009) This scholarly and thoughtful yet accessible book is relevant to the whole of Europe and the world. The social model of the Welfare State is one of the greatest conquests in the entire history of human emancipation and the ongoing attempt to destroy it is a crime against humanity. We should read it, learn from it and organise so as to fight back with all our strength. -- Susan George, President of the Board of the Transnational Institute An important contribution to the current debate about the future of the welfare state. Wahl demonstrates how power in society has shifted and why it has let to growing inequalities. A must read for debaters and policy makers who seek inspiration. -- Peter Waldorff, General Secretary of the PSI Asborn Wahl provides us with indispensable insights into the crisis of the welfare state in the West. More than that, he offers a roadmap to the future, one that focuses on the active engagement of citizens and civil society in the creation of new progressive vision in the post-globalisation era. This book challenges all of us to think outside the box to preserve the gains of the social democratic model while avoiding its pitfalls. -- Walden Bello, Professor of Sociology at the University of the Philippines Asbjorn Wahl's book offers a sobering assessment of the present state of power relations between labour and capital, but its message is ultimately an inspiring one. The 2011 events in North Africa, several European countries, and in the U.S. have shown that Wahl's ideas stand not at the margins, but at the heart of a new working class movement for social, economic and environmental justice. -- Sean Sweeney, Director of Global Labor Institute at the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell Universityshow more

About Asbjorn Wahl

Asbjorn Wahl is director of the Campaign for the Welfare State. He is also an adviser at the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees and holds an elected position at the International Transport Workers' Federation. He is an active member of the Labour and Globalisation more

Table of contents

Introduction 1. The Power Base 2. The Turning Point 3. The Shift in the Balance of Power 4. The Attacks 5. The Brutalisation of Work 6. The Misery of Symbol Politics 7. Challenges and Alternatives Notes Bibliography Indexshow more