Deals with the relationship between economic recession and moral change. Taking the case of The Netherlands, argues that the recession resulted in an increase of the expenditure for social security and at the same time diminished tax income. In the attempt to reduce the budget deficit, relations of social solidarity, which constitute the moral order, had to be restructured as well. This operation has not been performed by power conflict between government and claimants or workers as happened, for example, in Britain during the Thatcher government. The major instrument in bringing down the budget deficit was the eroding of the legitimacy of the claims of the socially weak segments of society. This requires the manipulation of public morality and only the successful manipulation enables the cuts which the government wishes to make.