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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beyond the Welfare State – that day will dawn.

Conservatism is the only option.

by StFerdIII

Even socialists and Marxists have to admit that the welfare state model is failing and will dissolve. The trends and clues are rather obvious. Every single Western nation state is saddled with an unsustainable real debt load of about 800% or 8 times the level of economic GDP [itself a rather bad measurement of economic health and size]. As Braudel wrote in his opus on the development of civilisation, no state or empire long survived the accumulation of debts which transgressed the 200% level of GDP. We are far beyond that. If governments properly accounted for the real debt levels they would have to add in to their balance sheet liabilities every year a portion of all future guarantees and future unfunded liabilities which stem from pensions; health care; welfare in all its various forms and any socialized programs and guarantees offered by the state to its citizen clients. But they don't. They simply remove these numbers and conveniently place them off the balance sheet – as if they are not real liabilities or as if they will be solutioned through 'magically' incantations including higher taxes [which regresses economic and tax growth]; or simply repudiating the debt and writing off the programs [a political and social impossibility].

So what lies beyond the welfare state or as Robert Gilpin the famed political-economic professor at Princeton in his must-read works on Globalization put it; 'Welfare Capitalism'? It will be a return to basics of course. Rights will be earned not granted. Welfare in any guise will be needs based, not simply nationalized and offered to the mass. Pensions, health care and even poor support will be privatized at least in part. Public unions will be contracted and their massive pensions and salaries reduced. Government programs and their bureaucracies will have to be scaled back some some 1/3 or more. In other words society will have to return to the real world where resources are scarce, price points need to signal supply and demand of these scarcities; and individual responsibility will trump the hypocritical and mendacious 'compassion' of the state. Statism leads to moral, economic, and cultural bankruptcy:

The implications of that assumption are fleshed out in a prescient essay in the spring issue of National Affairs called "Beyond the Welfare State." Written by ... Yuval Levin, it argues that the moment is ripe for conservatives to address the primary failure of the welfare state: a vision of man that is too narrow, tethered to a trust in government that is too high.

Conservatives, he says, reject the notion both that capitalism is dehumanizing, and that you increase social solidarity by increasing middle-class dependence on government. A conservative vision would consequently put a premium on upward mobility, promote personal responsibility, and in general regard institutions such as church and family as assets to be embraced rather than obstacles to be overcome. In short, as Mr. Levin says, it would "insist on the distinction between a welfare program and a welfare state."


It didn't have to turn out this way. Somewhere along the line, liberals came to accept that the only path to their goals was through government. Huge bureaucracies and powerful constituencies grew up around that idea, turning the private sector into something that existed only to be squeezed for the necessary funding.”

Capitalism and conservative philosophies are the only humanizing, pro-life, pro-individual and by extension, pro-civilisational theories which exist. The cult of the State leads to the opposite of what Conservatism has to offer, namely prosperity, security, jobs, responsibility and the ability to fund a basic and upwardly mobile welfare system.