In the early 1980s, the welfare state, for too long regarded as a notable contribution to the establishment of a humane social order, had over the previous decade come under increasing attack. Some of its critics, especially in the UK and the USA, maintained that it had failed to deal satisfactorily with the problem of poverty. Others held that it was over-elaborate, created a psychology of dependence and imposed costs that needed to be reduced as part of a policy of general economic recovery. In a number of countries, cuts had already been imposed or were now contemplated.
In this situation it was crucially important to direct attention once more to the basic objectives of the various welfare services from a systematic and comparative standpoint. Originally published in 1982, the authors of this book, one an economist and the other a specialist in social administration, subjected these aims to rigorous analysis and discuss the underlying issues of social philosophy. They then attempt to assess the various methods adopted for their attainment in Britain and comment on those adopted in the USA and in some continental European countries. Although the authors reject the more extreme assertion that the welfare state has been a failure, they point to the need to relate some of the policies followed more clearly to the basic objectives. A number of proposals for reform are put forward which would imply some change of emphasis and should permit a simplification of existing over-complex arrangements.
Table of Contents
Foreword. 1. The Welfare State: Its Meaning and its Development 2. Welfare Economics, Political Economy and the Welfare State 3. The Cash Transfers: An Account of the Schemes 4. Poverty and Selectivity 5. Cash Benefits in a Changing Economy 6. The Welfare State and the Health Services 7. The Personal Social Services 8. Assessment and Recommendations. Bibliography. General Index. Name Index.
Thomas Wilson and Dorothy J. Wilson