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The Future of the Welfare State: Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities
     

The Future of the Welfare State: Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities

by Francis G. Castles
 
Written by one of the world's leading policy researchers, this book seeks to assess the threat posed to modern welfare states by globalization and demographic change. Using empirical methods, and bringing together insights from across the social sciences, Castles interrogates a range of theories suggesting that the welfare state is in crisis. Systematically using data

Overview

Written by one of the world's leading policy researchers, this book seeks to assess the threat posed to modern welfare states by globalization and demographic change. Using empirical methods, and bringing together insights from across the social sciences, Castles interrogates a range of theories suggesting that the welfare state is in crisis. Systematically using data for 21 advanced OECD nations, he distinguishes crisis myths from crisis realities, locating, in the process, likely trajectories of welfare state development in coming decades. The findings of this book confront many of the basic assumptions of contemporary scholarship. Economic globalization has not led to a 'race to the bottom'. Analogous processes within the European Community have not led to a 'downward harmonization' of social spending. There is no 'new politics of the welfare state', with the Left still outspending the Right. Over the past two decades, spending has been increasing and converging across the OECD. Rather than being in a state of crisis, western welfare states have achieved a steady state. The supposed impact of population ageing on social welfare budgets also turns out to be myth, with differences in spending actually being a function of the structure of welfare systems, not of any demographic imperative. The only potentially real threat is of rapidly declining fertility, but Castles argues that welfare state spending in the form of family-friendly public policy is, in fact, our best defence against this problem. This is a book with significant policy implications. It identifies the factors likely to mould welfare state growth and decline in future years, and the diverse problems and challenges confronting welfare state policy-makers in different families of nations. It is a book for those who like assessing evidence before jumping to unwarranted conclusions, and a book for those who wish to see 'the shape of things to come'.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Castles' mastery of the complexity of the debates on the welfare state crisis is superb in its simplicity. Castles' objective to enhance modeling an focus on the comparability of data is a positive advance. His account is a spirited contribution." —Comparative Politics

"A balanced discussion such as this book provides is not easy to find. ...Castles avoids ideology, instead using empirical evidence."—Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191533624
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
07/08/2004
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB

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