Chapter

Towards asset-based welfare states

Stuart Lowe

in The Housing Debate

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9781847422736
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305514 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847422736.003.0008
Towards asset-based welfare states

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In the UK, the Beveridge-inspired welfare state began to break down in the 1970s under the impact of globalization and was partially replaced with a ‘competition state’, or at least a model that promoted economic efficiency as the principal goal of the welfare effort. Within this paradigm shift, there was a strong emphasis on the ‘financialisation’ of everyday life, in which citizenship became associated with the garnering of personal assets. In a debate between Castles and Kemeny, it became apparent that there was an incentive towards home ownership in many countries as populations aged and pensions spending came under pressure. This ‘Really Big Trade-Off’ debate did not go far enough in exploring the whole of the life-cycle opportunities for homeowners to unlock housing equity through remortgaging so that there has become a ‘Really, Really Big Trade-Off’. Evidence that owner occupiers were using their properties as ‘banks’ to buffer or cushion their welfare needs emerged in path-breaking research. The attitudinal shifts that went with this strongly suggest that asset-based welfare has been commonly practised for several decades.

Keywords: asset-based welfare; competition state; globalisation; financialisation; equity withdrawal; remortgaging

Chapter.  8490 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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