Towards a Post-Fordist Welfare State?

Towards a Post-Fordist Welfare State?

Towards a Post-Fordist Welfare State?

Towards a Post-Fordist Welfare State?


There is no doubt that significant socio-economic changes have occurred over the last twenty years in the UK and other advanced capitalist societies. Consequently, Fordism, a bureaucratic, hierarchical model of industrial development has matured into Post-Fordism, with its greater emphasis on the individual, freedom of choice and flexibility, generating fresh debate and analysis. Towards a Post-Fordist Welfare Staterepresents leading authors from a number of disciplines - social policy, sociology, politics and geography - who have played a key role in promoting and criticising Post-Fordist theorising and presents a thorough examination of the implications of applying Post-Fordism to contemporary restructuring of the British welfare state.
The work will appeal to a wide-ranging readership providing the first social policy text on Post-Fordism. It will be key reading for undergraduates, postgraduates and lecturers in social policy and administration, sociology, politics and public sector economics


In the early 1990s the perception of a crisis of welfare systems has become universal across the Western world. in the usa the problem of funding a fragmenting health care system has become one of the main domestic issues confronting the presidency of Bill Clinton. in Germany, sickness and other benefits are to be restricted. in France insurance contributions are being raised and direct payments extended. in Britain, virtually the entire welfare state has become enveloped by a sense of permanent crisis.

The coincidence of global economic slump and the ending of the Cold War has intensified pressures to reduce welfare expenditure at the same time that Western governments and established political parties face unprecedented problems of legitimacy. Given the importance of welfare policies in securing popular consent for existing regimes and in maintaining social stability, welfare budgets have proved remarkably resilient even in face of governments proclaiming strict monetarist principles. Thus in Britain, despite the often stridently anti-welfare tone of the Thatcher years, the proportion of gdp spent on welfare has remained more or less constant for the past twenty years.

Yet, the crisis of welfare has led to measures of reform and retrenchment which have provoked often bitter controversy in virtually every sphere, from hospitals and schools to social security benefits and personal social services. What is striking is the crumbling of the old structures and policies before any clear alternative has emerged. the general impression is one of exhaustion and pessimism: the sense that everything has been tried and failed and that nobody is very clear about how to advance into an increasingly bleak future.

The forces of the new right have held the initiative for the past decade and more, particularly in the Reagan/Thatcher years on both sides of the Atlantic. the agenda of free market anti-statism has provided the ideological cutting edge for measures of privatisation and a substantial shift in the 'mixed economy' of welfare towards a more market-oriented . . .

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