The great social-democratic dream of a comprehensive welfare state—promoted by the centre-Left and centre-Right alike—is turning into a worldwide disaster. Suspicions are spreading that socialised welfare has reached a tipping point, with few genuine remedies in sight. Budget deficits and mounting public debts show that many welfare states are going broke; in Western Europe and the USA, they imperil monetary stability. Public-sector unions and powerful lobbies of recipients of tax-funded largesse are demonstrating against cuts to “their” programs. Those dependent on government pensions despair over their shrinking purchase power. High unemployment seems entrenched. The uneasy feeling spreads that the West…
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