Chapter

New Course or Marginal Adjustment?

Neil Gilbert

in Transformation of the Welfare State

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195140743
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834921 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195140745.003.0002
 New Course or Marginal Adjustment?

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In the first part of the chapter, views are discussed on the changing arrangements for social protection that have occurred in the last decade of the twentieth century in many, if not all, of the industrialized nations. Some see these changes as a marginal adjustment in the borders of the welfare state, while others perceive the changing landscape of industrialized welfare states as the embodiment of major revisions in the principles and philosophy of social protection. Most welfare state analysts acknowledge that the reforms are spurred by the need for greater labour force adaptability and productivity in a global economy, by concerns on the erosion of individual responsibility, and by new institutional arrangements for social protection involving market competition. The last part of the chapter addresses the two main theories on how welfare states evolve – convergence under the pressures of broad impersonal structural forces, or divergence into distinct regimes responding to human interventions shaped by socio‐political factors.

Keywords: adaptability; change; convergence; divergence; industrialized countries; labour force; market competition; productivity; responsibility; social protection; welfare policy; welfare state

Chapter.  9936 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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