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This was a golden age of rights. The bill of rights was our birth certificate and it simply spelled out the basics: speech, assembly, worship, privacy.

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Responsibilities not expressly delegated to the federal government were reserved to the states, or to the people. Several decades later, we settled the glaring leftover rights issue raised by human slavery.

Asbjørn Wahl: The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

At the dawn of the 20 th century, as the country became more affluent, we expanded the concept of rights and created the welfare state. During the last century we created rights to education, social security, welfare, food stamps and even taxpayer funded abortions. This emphasis on individual responsibility—even in a complex economy—spoke volumes about the way the monetarists thought about the welfare state. Interestingly, such thinking would have found a warm embrace amid ideologies prevalent in some quarters during the s in Canada and propagated by people such as Charlotte Whitton, the famed director of the Canadian Family and Welfare Association.

The bugbear of rising inflation and falling wages confounded Western governments, and many, including those in the United States and Great Britain, embraced monetarist policies with vigour. But the tide had already turned.

After the election of a Progressive Conservative majority under Brian Mulroney in , the federal government cut social spending generally and slashed grants for the shared social services to the provinces. However muted at first, this cry would become much more vociferous by the early s. After the federal government cut social spending and slashed provincial grants. Alberta took up the cry of unsustainable spending.

The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

The seven-year era of Alberta premier Don Getty came to an end with his resignation in The subsequent leadership race between Environment Minister and former Calgary mayor Ralph Klein and party stalwart Nancy Betkowski rested in large measure on who could promise to make funding cuts faster. Klein won the contest, and in redoubled his efforts to appear as the fiscal hawk, ready and willing to cut corporate taxes, slay the provincial deficit and slash social spending.

Klein led the Progressive Conservatives to a seventh straight majority in the Alberta legislature in June First, Alberta Family and Social Services caseworkers were directed to deny prospective welfare recipients any aid unless the applicants had absolutely exhausted all other avenues of support and had nowhere else to turn for help. The changes had the desired effect. Alberta Family and Social Services managed to reduce its overall caseload by half from 95, people to 50, people in the first three years following the cuts.


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What happened to those 45, people cut from the welfare rolls is difficult to say, since the government had no mechanism for tracking them. Doubtless some entered training and education programs designed to transition unemployed workers into the labour force, but, for the most part, such programs did not lead to jobs. Others were forced to turn to charities and family to stay off the street.

And others still did wind up on the street. Public policy researcher Gordon Laird has pointed out that homelessness in Calgary alone increased per cent between and In the end, Albertans were left with a mere ghost of a welfare state and a government with a radically different ideological bent than they had known through the four decades immediately following the Second World War.

The Rise and Fall of Alberta’s Welfare State

For his part, Ralph Klein is sometimes remembered as a true-blue Alberta maverick who restored sanity to a welfare state run amok. In fact he was only a small part of a much broader slavish following of anti-state-intervention ideology and neoconservative thinking. Social Issues. Barely have the final fireworks from Bonfire Night disappeared from view in the night sky when the yearly winter crisis of the British National Health Service NHS announces its presence. Last year, the problems seem to arrive even before the outbreak of the winter flu epidemic.

In The Times newspaper October 18th, Professor Michael Joy, consultant cardiologist at St Peter's hospital, Chertsey, wrote to complain that he could not admit very ill patients from his Accident Department due to the unavailability of beds in the main hospital. He said, "If nothing is done, I guarantee within the next weeks there will be a mighty crash.

Everybody in the Health Service is totally demoralised.

The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

I have never seen morale at such a low level in my 35 year career. I have heard this song before. Last year, I had an interesting conversation with a doctor visiting from New Zealand as I was being wheeled to the operating theatre of one of Britain's NHS hospitals. Imagine my relief as the anaesthetic finally brought merciful oblivion.

The NHS is the jewel in the crown of the British Welfare State, but it only arrived relatively late upon the scene The origins of the Welfare State go back to the late Victorian era and the desire to provide cheap housing for the poor, the best healthcare for all and pensions which made satisfactory provision for a comfortable retirement.

If one country could be said to have influenced Britain in the formation of its social policies in the late 19 th century, that country would be Germany. It is difficult now to envisage the dramatic impact on the Victorian mind of the rapid unification of Germany under the leadership of Prussia. There was a new kid on the block, and his every movement was watched both eagerly and anxiously. Bismarck had temporarily banned socialist parties in and brought in a form of state welfare to placate the working classes and avoid a socialist revolution In the late 19 th century, Germany had the most powerful socialist party in the world.

In the s the German state began to provide accident, health and pension insurance and became the conscious model for Lloyd George and William Beveridge, the latter more than anyone being the architect of the British Welfare State. Beveridge visited Germany in and Lloyd George followed in It seems that the motivation of Bismarck and the British reformers was the same.

How Countries Fall into the Welfare Trap

The extension of the franchise to working-class men in the U. The profit system, with what were regarded by many as its vagaries and caprices, was to be left in place. Indeed, Beveridge seems to have seen no conflict between state action and the free market. Interventionist social policies would strengthen the market and make it more efficient than ever. Subsequent developments have increasingly diverged from these early hopes and expectations.

Pioneering work by The Institute of Economic Affairs IEA in London has demonstrated the degree and vitality of the early private provision of the social services which were to become the province of the State. As British governments increasingly developed the Welfare State during the 20 th century and snuffed out these existing mechanisms for private provision, there was no obvious sense of gratitude from the British citizens to their governments. Instead, we can trace continuing attempts by people to protect themselves from the poor level of welfare services provided by the State.

The history of the Welfare State is the history of the flight from the Welfare State. Rent control came in during World War One and did not begin to be unwound until the late s. The Local Government housing sector was established in the years after and was extended thereafter.

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The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Welfare Machine by Carly Elizabeth Schall – EuropeNow

In , 90 per cent of dwellings were privately rented and 10 per cent owned. Roughly 70 per cent of homes are privately owned. In other words, the 20 th century in the U. K has seen homes go from being largely privately rented to being largely privately owned.