There is now widespread recognition of the difficulties of continuing with state monopolies of 'welfare provision'. Hence evidence is being sought on the possible benefits of private provision of education, medical care, housing, pensions and unemployment insurance. In this volume, edited by Arthur Seldon who has been responsible for much of the IEA's pioneering work in the welfare field, 10 authors use counterfactual analysis to explore the development of private welfare provision before the state takeover in the late 19th century. They assess what might have happened without that takeover, and draw lessons for the future. Seldon concludes that the 'market process' in welfare is likely to replace the 'political process' so that the state will no longer prevent the market from '...discovering the imperfections of the welfare state and the remedies.