Throughout the industrialised countries, the welfare state is under attack. The attack comes from both “the left” and “the right”—though the arguments used in the debate vary considerably among different societies. The strongest consensus is about the cost. The point seems to have been reached when the majority insist on being left with more of their money to spend in their own way. The political process reacts to these demands by trying to curtail or check the constantly rising bill for welfare. Debates about the level of welfare spending have now moved to the centre of political debate and underlie the instability of many governments throughout the Western world.
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