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The Rise and Fall
                   of the Welfare State


                   Asbjørn Wahl
                   Author



1...
The welfare state success



   The welfare state represented great progress
   in terms of living and working conditions,...
A question of social power


 • In the last resort, welfare is a question of
   the distribution of the wealth in society
...
The three foundation pillars




      The social          System                 Struggle of
        help            comp...
The welfare economy


  • A considerable shift in the balance of power

  • The post WWII politics of Bretton Woods

  • C...
Result of social struggle


   Well-developed welfare states
   were the result of social struggles –
   struggles based o...
The class compromise


  • Compromise between labour and capital

  • The result of a shift in power relations

  • A long...
Regulation of capital


        Regulation of                                   Trade protectionism
        investments


...
A specific power relation


  • The welfare state is not only a sum of
    social institutions and public budgets,
    but...
The turning point


  • The 1970s: crisis in the world economy

  • The breakdown of the social pact

  • The triumph of n...
The neoliberal offensive


        Regulation of                                   Trade protectionism
        investments...
The neoliberal offensive


        Regulation of                                   Trade protectionism
        investments...
The neoliberal offensive


        Regulation of                                   Trade protectionism
        investments...
The neoliberal offensive


                                                        Trade protectionism




               ...
The neoliberal offensive




                                Private capital




         Labour legislation              ...
The neoliberal offensive




                                Private capital




         Labour legislation              ...
The current situation




                                Private capital




   Attacks on labour legislation            ...
Effects of the offensive

  • Increased pressure from competition –
    at the workplace, in school, in society

  • Redis...
«Public sector has become too big»

 • It has become too big in all countries,
   no matter the size of the public sector
...
Reduced wage share




15 November 2012   Ryerson University, Toronto
Contemporary capitalism

  • Capitalism is in a deep systemic crisis

  • Politicians across the board has responded by
  ...
From financial to debt crisis


  • Gigantic rescue packages saved the
    economic system from the financial crisis
  • T...
Draconian austerity policies

  • Wages in the public sector have been cut
    without negotiations in at least ten EU cou...
The future of the welfare state?




                                                   ?
      The social          System...
The future of the welfare state?


                       Financial,
                       economic
                     ...
What went wrong?

 • The social pact was not a stable situation

 • A compromise in a concrete historical situation

 • Ta...
This was just not enough !


        Regulation of                                   Trade protectionism
        investmen...
Labour movement in crisis

  • Deep political-ideological crisis on the left
  • System criticism is more or less non-exis...
New economic governance

  • The Annual Growth Survey (AGS)
  • The European ’Semester’ (budget control)
  • New economic ...
Economic growth not the aim

  • Many criticise the austerity policies in Europe
    for failing to counteract the effects...
Important challenges ahead


  • The class compromise is breaking down – the
    social partnership ideology is doomed to ...
Beyond Keynesianism !


 • Emancipatory social policies presuppose
   a shift in the balance of power in society

 • The w...
Light at the end of the tunnel?

 • Under current conditions we are facing
   the end of the era of the welfare state

 • ...
The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State
                            In an age of government
                            imp...
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The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 1 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 2 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 3 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 4 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 5 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 6 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 7 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 8 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 9 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 10 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 11 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 12 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 13 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 14 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 15 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 16 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 17 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 18 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 19 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 20 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 21 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 22 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 23 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 24 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 25 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 26 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 27 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 28 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 29 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 30 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 31 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 32 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 33 The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Slide 34
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In an age of government imposed austerity, and after 30 years of neoliberal restructuring, the future of the welfare state looks increasingly uncertain. Asbjørn Wahl offers an accessible analysis of the situation across Europe, identifies the most important challenges and presents practical proposals for combating the assault on welfare.

Video presentation:
http://www.socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/ls154.php

The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

  1. 1. The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State Asbjørn Wahl Author 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  2. 2. The welfare state success The welfare state represented great progress in terms of living and working conditions, unprecedented in the history of mankind. Public health, life expectancy and social security improved enormously as the welfare state developed in the last century. 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  3. 3. A question of social power • In the last resort, welfare is a question of the distribution of the wealth in society • The distribution of the wealth in society is a question of economic and social power • Control and ownership of capital / resources form the basis of social power 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  4. 4. The three foundation pillars The social System Struggle of help competition organised stat labour 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  5. 5. The welfare economy • A considerable shift in the balance of power • The post WWII politics of Bretton Woods • Capital control and market interventions • Market competition was dampened • Compensated the deficiencies of the market • Social insurance, public services, utilities 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  6. 6. Result of social struggle Well-developed welfare states were the result of social struggles – struggles based on popular mobilisation, confrontations with the counter forces, and the fact that a great part of the economy was taken out of the market and made subject to democratic governance. 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  7. 7. The class compromise • Compromise between labour and capital • The result of a shift in power relations • A long-term booming capitalism • Result: great progress, and depolitisation • The crisis-free capitalism was a «reality» • The role of the social democratic parties 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  8. 8. Regulation of capital Regulation of Trade protectionism investments Private capital Fixed Capital control exchange rates Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  9. 9. A specific power relation • The welfare state is not only a sum of social institutions and public budgets, but first and foremost the result of certain power relations in society • The welfare state was never planned, it was a compromise of interests in a specific historic situation 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  10. 10. The turning point • The 1970s: crisis in the world economy • The breakdown of the social pact • The triumph of neoliberalism • The abolishment of capital control • Deregulation of the markets • Immense shift in the balance of power 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  11. 11. The neoliberal offensive Regulation of Trade protectionism investments Private capital Fixed Capital control exchange rates Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  12. 12. The neoliberal offensive Regulation of Trade protectionism investments Capital control Private capital Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  13. 13. The neoliberal offensive Regulation of Trade protectionism investments Private capital Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  14. 14. The neoliberal offensive Trade protectionism Private capital Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  15. 15. The neoliberal offensive Private capital Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  16. 16. The neoliberal offensive Private capital Labour legislation Reduced public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  17. 17. The current situation Private capital Attacks on labour legislation Reduced public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  18. 18. Effects of the offensive • Increased pressure from competition – at the workplace, in school, in society • Redistribution from public to private • Redistribution from labour to capital • Redistribution from the poor to the rich • Undermining of public welfare institutions • De-democratisation - increased market power 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  19. 19. «Public sector has become too big» • It has become too big in all countries, no matter the size of the public sector • It has actually become most too big where it from the outset was smallest (i.e. the USA) • The myth of the too big public sector is being used ideologically to weaken it • The power-relations in society and the political-ideological hegemony decides how much we decide to organise in common 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  20. 20. Reduced wage share 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  21. 21. Contemporary capitalism • Capitalism is in a deep systemic crisis • Politicians across the board has responded by deregulating markets /abolishing capital control • A neo-liberal strategy of global restructuring • Institutionalisation of neo-liberalism in the EU • No more room for compromises with labour • A new phase in the development of capitalism 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  22. 22. From financial to debt crisis • Gigantic rescue packages saved the economic system from the financial crisis • The financial crisis turned into a debt crisis • Strong demands for balanced budgets • Trade unions and public welfare under attack • On a straight course towards a depression • From economic to social and political crisis 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  23. 23. Draconian austerity policies • Wages in the public sector have been cut without negotiations in at least ten EU countries • Considerable down-sizing in the public sector • Massive attacks on pensions and social security • Forced privatisation of whatever is left of public property, pushed by the Troika • In other words, a massacre of the welfare state is going on in the most crisis-ridden countries 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  24. 24. The future of the welfare state? ? The social System Struggle of help competition organised stat labour 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  25. 25. The future of the welfare state? Financial, economic crisis ? The social Struggle of help organised stat labour 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  26. 26. What went wrong? • The social pact was not a stable situation • A compromise in a concrete historical situation • Tactical compromise became the final aim • Basic power relations remained in tact • The ideology of the social pact proved wrong • Taken by surprise by the neo-liberal offensive 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  27. 27. This was just not enough ! Regulation of Trade protectionism investments Private capital Fixed Capital control exchange rates Labour legislation Huge public sector 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  28. 28. Labour movement in crisis • Deep political-ideological crisis on the left • System criticism is more or less non-existent • No attempt at mobilising for a power struggle • Almost no measures are put in place in order to weaken the power of financial capital in society • The crisis reinterpreted as public irresponsibility • A lack of trust, since they have supported/ carried out the policy which led to the crisis 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  29. 29. New economic governance • The Annual Growth Survey (AGS) • The European ’Semester’ (budget control) • New economic governance (’sixpack’) • Euro-/Financial pact (Euro countries + others) • A new system of economic sanctions • Austerity policies are turned into a matter of principle, and Keynesianism is banned by law 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  30. 30. Economic growth not the aim • Many criticise the austerity policies in Europe for failing to counteract the effects of the crisis • But the aim of the austerity policies is not to regain economic growth and create jobs • It is implemented in order to destroy the welfare state and defeat trade unions • The elite uses the crisis as an opportunity to carry out what they did not achieve with the Lisbon strategy, now with shock-therapy 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  31. 31. Important challenges ahead • The class compromise is breaking down – the social partnership ideology is doomed to fall • Negative and partly catastrophic experiences with social democratic / centre left governments • Greece, Spain, Portugal • France, Italy, Norway and Denmark • The EU moves in an authoritarian direction without it being noticed by the broad left 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  32. 32. Beyond Keynesianism ! • Emancipatory social policies presuppose a shift in the balance of power in society • The welfare state did not go far enough in taking democratic control of the economy • A new needs-based social model will have to go beyond the Keynesian welfare state 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  33. 33. Light at the end of the tunnel? • Under current conditions we are facing the end of the era of the welfare state • The task now is not to “save the welfare state”, but to defend the achievements which were won • Our future will depend on the development of the social struggle – the balance of power in society • A higher level of civilisation is still possible, but only through mobilisation of broad social forces 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  34. 34. The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State In an age of government imposed austerity, and after 30 years of neo-liberal restructuring, the future of the welfare state looks increasingly uncertain. Asbjørn Wahl offers an accessible analysis of the situation across Europe, identifies the most important challenges and presents practical proposals for combating the assaults on welfare. $ 25,- 15 November 2012 Ryerson University, Toronto
  • MichelleThomas104508

    Dec. 4, 2021
  • Y333

    Dec. 15, 2014

In an age of government imposed austerity, and after 30 years of neoliberal restructuring, the future of the welfare state looks increasingly uncertain. Asbjørn Wahl offers an accessible analysis of the situation across Europe, identifies the most important challenges and presents practical proposals for combating the assault on welfare. Video presentation: http://www.socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/ls154.php

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