The Assessment: The Future of the Welfare State
The welfare state is highly diverse and relatively new. Throughout the developed world there are suggestions of crisis, although the nature of the crisis is often ill defined. Pressures to increase spending exist and are powerful, both because of demographic and social change, and because of increasing expectations. But the common suggestion that we cannot afford the welfare state is misleading. The appropriate question is whether or not we are willing to engage in increasing amounts of redistribution. Simply shifting responsibilities to the private sector will do little unless we change our distributional goals, and by making public provision more redistributive, may make taxation less popular than it is already. Copyright 1995 by Oxford University Press.
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