Peter Jenkins on the death of the Welfare State

  • Founders of the Welfare State edited by Paul Barker
    Gower, 138 pp, £14.95, February 1985, ISBN 0 435 82060 5
  • The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
    Deutsch, 291 pp, £9.95, February 1985, ISBN 0 233 97771 6

At an international conference I attended the other day someone spoke of European civilisation as the civilisation of Christendom, the Renaissance and the Welfare State. A somewhat flowery way of putting it, perhaps: but then it can certainly be argued that the Welfare State is the principal flower in the post-war blossoming of Western Europe. Moreover, the speaker presumably intended to place the modern Welfare State among the greatest achievements of European civilisation, an order transcending frontiers.

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