The 'moribund' welfare state in the 1990s
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The paper examines in the light of international statistics the degree of validity in the assertion of today's neo-liberal mainstream that the welfare state is dying and its redistributive role retreating and regressing. It looks into the percentage shares of GDP taken by welfare spending in 29 countries in the period 1980-98 and the tendency in social spending in the 15 EU member-countries in 1991-2000. It examines the increase in the health-spending component of welfare spending in 1991-2001 in the OECD countries, distinguishing within them between publicly and privately financed expenditures. Based on the OECD statistics, the author shows also the trend, in the second half of the 1990s, in the development of publicly and privately financed education spending. The most important conclusion is that there has been no dismantling of the welfare state in the last twenty or the last ten years. The last third of the paper is devoted to examining the likely reasons for this.
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