During the last several decades, the welfare state has come under increasing pressure around the world, with social provision often being cut or privatized. Often the justification for these changes has been made as an economic argument, especially a neoliberal argument that the welfare state diminishes growth or produces disincentives to work. These arguments are of relatively recent origin, however; many types of economists have supported the creation of the welfare state, even liberal economists. The purpose of this book is to examine the economic arguments that have been used in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany in support of, and in opposition to, the welfare state. Special attention is paid to the transnational dimensions of recent welfare discourse and to the ways that liberal and neoliberal arguments about the welfare state have changed over time.
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