Thursday 27 September 2012—“The welfare states of today are directly responsible for the two great economic crises that are gripping the world: the global financial crisis and the debt crisis,” according to Dr. Tom G. Palmer, editor of After the Welfare State, a collection of essays on the welfare state by scholars from five nations.
The book is published by the Atlas Network, a nonprofit association serving the world’s largest network of free-market think tanks, and Students for Liberty (SFL), a network of over 600 college clubs dedicated to limiting government and defending individual liberty. Atlas and SFL have distributed 100,000 copies of the book in North America and 25,000 in Europe.
In addition to essays on the history and the economics of the welfare state, University of Athens professor Aristides Hatzis shows the roots of the current Greek crisis in welfare state populism and Italian journalist and researcher Piercamillo Falasca explains the history of the Italian miracolo economico that was spurred by free market reforms in the 1950s and then undermined by welfare statism in recent years. As Hatzis notes, “Greece is the textbook example of the generation of unsustainable ‘rights.’”
Historians David Green from the United Kingdom and David Beito from the United States provide detailed histories of what existed before the welfare state and of how welfare states displaced a wide array of voluntary organizations.
Swedish economist Johan Norberg explains the role of welfare state policies in creating the housing bubble in the United States that led to the world financial crisis and American policy expert Michael Tanner explains the growth of unfunded liabilities, legally required expenditures, mainly in pension and health care, for which there is no corresponding government revenue. Other essays deal with the role of welfare programs in entrenching and institutionalizing poverty and the politics of the welfare state as a system of political control.
The book is aimed primarily, but not exclusively at student readers and includes extensive documentation and footnotes for further research and study. Student groups are hosting events around the country to discuss the implications of the ideas in this book on current events. More information is available at Students forLiberty.org.
After the Welfare State is available as a free download at AtlasNetwork.org/AWS and bulk orders can be made for events. To schedule an interview with Dr. Tom G. Palmer or one of the other book contributors, please contact Matt Warner.