The political economy of the welfare state in developed capitalist countries

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Abstract

The article analyzes the social, economic, and political changes taking place in developed capitalist countries that are affecting their welfare states, in particular the changes in the family, in people's life cycles, in economic and social structures, and, most importantly, in the political contexts. The author shows how these changes take place and how the ways in which various countries respond to them depend mainly on the correlation of forces (of which class forces continue to be of great importance) and their expression in the political space. The dominant theoretical frame (promoted by international agencies and many governments) assumes that all governments, regardless of their political coloration, are forced to follow the same policies because of the need to be competitive in the globalized economy, where international markets (whether financial or commercial) determine what governments can and must do. Questioning this economic determinism, the article recovers the importance of politics, putting politics at the center of the explanation of what is happening in the welfare states of the developed capitalist countries, including the neoliberal aggression against them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-50
Number of pages50
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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