Professor David Garland on how the welfare state can be part of election season discussion

Professor David Garland on how the welfare state can be part of election season discussion


In the election this time around,
there’s a focus, I think the first time in a long time, on questions of equality
and questions on providing the middle class, by which Americans mean people in work who are not very rich or very poor, providing middle class with security and
a decent return for their work. Now, these are key issues of the welfare state, that
the debates that we had in the 1980s 1990’s about welfare were actually
debates about welfare for the poor, and I think that they were often wrongheaded
and misinformed, but today’s debates are really about the heart of the welfare
state, about providing a decent wage, a minimum wage, providing employment
protections, and providing Social Security in the long term, as well as
health care for people in employment. These are key employment- key welfare
state issues, and I think the USA could learn a lot from having a view- having an
understanding of how these same questions have been resolved elsewhere.
So, for example the- the discussion of the last two or three years about health
care has led to the journalists and the- the politicians and the public in this
country being better informed about how it’s done elsewhere, and the same kind of
problems that we have today with regard to providing retirement pensions through
insurance for working people, these are problems everywhere. They’re problems in Sweden, in Germany, in the UK demography is something that’s very widespread in
its impact. So, the aim of this book is to bring into the American conversation
some succinct summaries of how these problems are being addressed elsewhere,
and some experience and history about how they’ve been successfully addressed
elsewhere, yeah, in order that we might have a discussion that’s not about the
welfare state yes or no, but rather how do we adapt vital institutions to a
rapidly changing economy, and social life and culture.

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