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The Radical right and the welfare state : an international assessment /

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For much of this century, governments have accepted the principle of state responsibility for the welfare of its citizens: in spite of ideological differences about the appropriate scale of state activity, some role has been assumed by all governments. During the last decade, however, this view has been seriously challenged by radical thinkers from the political right who have argued that state-sponsored welfare of any kind is inimical to economic growth, prosperity and social progress. The ideas of this radical right have found practical expression through the policies of sympathetic governments and international agencies. Much of the current debate about welfare provision now revolves around whether radical right-wing prescriptions have resulted in marginal changes or major modifications which will persist for years to come. The need to examine the extent of the impact of radical right-wing ideas on welfare provision is the basis of this major new collection of specially commissioned articles. The book investigates the prevalence of these ideas through a wider international and comparative approach, looking at the experiences of Canada, Germany, Chile and Israel as well as Britain and the USA. The country studies are set in context with a comprehensive theoretical and historical account of welfare consensus and the rise and social welfare proposals of the radical right, and a concluding chapter which draws together the case study material and looks ahead to the future of the welfare state ideal.

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