Kannamma Raman


The welfare state has been perceived as being in crisis for more than three decades. Of late, the  future of the welfare state itself is the subject of debate.  The reasons for such a prognosis is based on factors ranging from democratic overload, economic slowdown, fiscal crisis, and the ascendancy of neo-liberalism. It is argued that demographic and social changes, in particular the ageing society and the resultant ‘pension time bomb’, is leading to demands that make welfare states fiscally unsustainable. Some believe that the crisis the welfare state is undergoing is above all moral in nature; by assuming a universal right to welfare it replaces old virtue of selfreliance, by a ‘culture of dependency’. All this suggest that time is ripe for a reappraisal of the functioning of the welfare state. Given that the expression is a political slogan as well as an analytical concept both aspects need to examined.

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