Observer 205, April/May 1997
Today's labour-market, social, macro-economic and demographic realities look starkly different from those prevailing when the welfare state was constructed.
The difficulties faced by systems of social protection today – the increased numbers of elderly people,family instability, high and persistent unemployment – are often contrasted with the ‘golden era’ of the three decades after the Second World War. Social policies, it is argued, were designed for a period when there was full employment, when families were stable, and where the most pressing social concern was toensure that elderly people could benefit from the fruits of economic growth by using taxes to transfer income to them from the working-age population.
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