We argued in Chapter 1 that the contradictory experience which people have of the welfare state is probably best explained by its contradictory functions with respect to capital development. Centralized policy-making and administration are closely linked to the state’s ever more crisis-ridden attempts to fulfil its contradictory functions: it must, in meeting people’s ‘needs’, use its coercive and especially its hegemonic power to repress the expression of any needs which do not reflect that complex of social relations which are required for capital development. As people experience dissatisfaction over the benefits and services provided under these conditions, the state finds it increasingly necessary to centralize more and more elements of its welfare apparatus in attempts to control the resultant crises. At this point in the argument one can well ask if attempts to decentralize policy-making and administration of welfare could be among those reforms which hold the promise of structural transformation.
KeywordsTrade Union Collective Bargaining Social Housing Unemployment Insurance Union Membership
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