This volume reveals the complexity of the positions towards the welfare state taken by economists, most of whom could be counted as liberal in one way or another. Liberal economists were both at the heart of the original development of the welfare state and at the center of the counter movement against the welfare state. The nature of the interaction between liberalism and the welfare state, and the role of economists, varied greatly between countries. Initially, the structure of the welfare states in different nations made it difficult for transnational neoliberal ideas to have much influence in minimizing the size and nature of the welfare state. Today, however, one brand of free-market, anti-state neoliberalism plays a particularly effective role in attacks on the welfare state across countries. History shows that is not the only form of liberalism or the only ways that liberals might see the welfare state.
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