European Social Welfare Programs
The incrementalism that we see everywhere in public policy may actually be one of the most radical forces for change.
Studying social welfare programs in the Western industrialized nations provides an important comparative perspective for the analysis of U.S. antipoverty efforts. This is not because other nations have succeeded in eradicating poverty. A few countries, such as Sweden, West Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Norway, do have very little poverty; but other states, such as France and Great Britain, have a rate of poverty quite similar to America's. What is important is that the variety of antipoverty strategies employed by these nations provides a basis for weighing alternatives to U.S. approaches. This is an extremely important undertaking because almost the entirety of poverty research undertaken within the United States has been narrowly framed, most often evaluating programs only in its own terms, with little if any indepth consideration given to the advantages and disadvantages of alternative strategies.
In this chapter we discuss five antipoverty strategies and programs found in Western Europe that suggest valuable options for