"Welfare: The Cheapest Country"

Carl Remick carlremick at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 15 12:53:06 PST 2000

Nobel laureate Robert M. Solow reviews _The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism_ by Robert E. Goodin, Bruce Headey, Ruud Muffels, and Henk-Jan Dirven in the current NY Review of Books, in an article, "Welfare: The Cheapest Country," contrasting the welfare system in the U.S. with that of other industrial nations. An excerpt follows; full text is at http://www.nybooks.com/nyrev/WWWfeatdisplay.cgi?20000323020R#top :

"Americans feel themselves overburdened by a welfare system that is in fact, by the standards of other rich countries, both lean and mean. The relative generosity of the European welfare regimes may cost them some excess unemployment, but that does not explain why the rich European economies did not match the American boom of the 1990s. More important reasons are excessively tight monetary policy, failures of industrial competition, and restrictive controls on the labor market. The welfare state seems to encroach on the economy only when it grows to Swedish proportions. What really distinguishes the US is the equanimity with which the majority contemplates the poverty of a minority."

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