Beyond the welfare state as we knew it?

Edited by Nathalie Morel, Bruno Palier and Joakim Palme

in Towards A Social Investment Welfare State?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847429247
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305613 | DOI:
Beyond the welfare state as we knew it?

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This chapter traces the different approaches to social policy as they have developed over time, starting with the early origins of the social investment perspective in the ‘productive social policy’ approach put forward in Sweden in the 1930s, before turning to a brief analysis of the Keynesian and neo-liberal eras of social policy. It suggests that the social investment perspective may represent a new, emerging social and economic policy paradigm which is based on a new understanding of social policy as a productive factor. The chapter then reviews the different critiques which have been levelled at the social investment perspective, and suggests that these critiques may be linked in part to some of the tensions and ambiguities embedded in the social investment perspective, which can be related to the different intellectual sources behind it. Finally, it presents the aims and focus of the book, which are to assess the achievements, shortcomings and potentials of social investment policies; to question whether the ‘social investment’ strategy is able to regenerate the welfare state, promote social inclusion, create more and better jobs; and helps address the challenges posed by the economic crisis, globalisation, ageing and climate change.

Keywords: productive social policy; Keynesian social policies; neo-liberal policies; social policy paradigm; social investment; equality; efficiency

Chapter.  11446 words. 

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