Challenges to the Welfare State: Internal and External Dynamics for Change

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Challenges to the Welfare State examines and assesses cultural, economic and political problems facing welfare states in Europe and North America and provides policy suggestions to alleviate these problems. An important group of authors identifies the relative merits of welfare state systems in the United States and Europe. They consider the transition of the welfare state in former Communist countries to more market oriented systems and the status of the European welfare state in the context of deepening European integration. More specifically, these experts address the question of whether further integration in Europe will result in an environment where all citizens are guaranteed only certain basic social rights and are encouraged to take private financial responsibility for health care, pension provision and insurance. The nature of social insurance institutions, the problems of ageing populations and the backlash against increasing taxation are also considered. The authors conclude that the reduction of existing government debt in the context of the move towards European Monetary Union will require either considerable increases in taxation or a significant reduction in entitlements. This book will be required reading for scholars and students of economics, social and public politics, politics and public administration.