Crisis Neoliberalism and the Social Welfare State: Comparing Structural Challenges and Policy Responses in the US and Scandinavia

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ricardo DELLO BUONO, Manhattan College, USA
Emblematic of a global system in crisis, the social safety net of the most advanced capitalist countries have experienced significant new challenges in recent years. Social services have become targeted for sharp reductions, consolidation or elimination under shifting political conditions and a highly disorganized popular resistance.  Comprehensive social service approaches have become politically defined as a “problem” frequently blamed for undermining global competitiveness.  In a world turned upside down, the social welfare policy shift to “human capital approaches” has been redesigned to transform the poor and the disenfranchised into “more attractive” commodities for capital exploitation. This paper draws contrasts between the embattled Nordic Welfare State model and the permanently underfunded, minimalist US version with an emphasis on challenges posed by migratory upheavals and a substantive political shift to the right.  An attempt is made to identify and anticipate some key areas of neoliberal restructuration of social services delivery where successful political resistance may emerge.