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p. 816. Problemslocked

  • David Garland


The welfare state is, at its core, a problem-solving apparatus, designed to manage dysfunctions that are endemic to the economic and social life of modern nations. But welfare states also generate problems of their own—such as moral hazards, excessive bureaucracy, soaring costs, and labour market rigidities—that sometimes threaten to bring the whole enterprise into disrepute. ‘Problems’ shows that these issues are troubling and consequential, but in weighing their significance we ought always to ask: ‘what can be done?’ and ‘what are the alternatives?’ That the welfare state has its problems is undeniable. The real question is whether these problems are manageable and how they compare to those of other arrangements.

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