Welfare states vary across nations and change over time. And the balance between markets and government; free enterprise and social protection is perennially in question. But all developed societies have welfare states of one kind or another - they are a fundamental dimension of modern government. And even after decades of free-market criticism and reform, their core institutions have proven resilient and popular. This Very Short Introduction describes the modern welfare state, explaining its historical and contemporary significance and arguing that far from being 'a failure' or 'a problem', welfare states are an essential element of contemporary capitalism, and a vital concomitant of democratic government. In this accessible and entertaining account, David Garland cuts through the fog of misunderstandings to explain in clear and simple terms, what welfare states are, how they work, and why they matter. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.
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David Garland is the Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at New York University and Professorial Fellow at Edinburgh University. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and taught there from 1979 to 1997 before moving to the USA. A Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Garland is the author of a series of award-winning books on punishment and criminal justice, including Punishment and Welfare (1985), The Culture of Control (OUP 2001) and Peculiar Institution: America's Death Penalty in and Age of Abolition (OUP 2010). His recent work on the welfare state has appeared in the European Journal of Sociology.