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Diversity and Solidarity in European Welfare States. Peter Taylor-Gooby [email protected] The Progressive Dilemma.

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Diversity and solidarity in european welfare states l.jpg

Diversity and Solidarityin European Welfare States

Peter Taylor-Gooby

[email protected]


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The Progressive Dilemma

‘..sharing and solidarity can conflict with diversity. This is an especially acute dilemma for progressives who want plenty of both solidarity - high social cohesion and generous welfare paid out of a progressive tax system - and diversity - equal respect for a wide range of peoples, values and ways of life. …. the left's recent love affair with diversity may come at the expense of the values and even the people that it once championed’ Goodhart, 2004


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New Twist to an Old Argument

  • PD takes a long-standing debate - diversity vs. solidarity (= trust, community, social capital, etc) → vs. social spending

  • Directs it to ‘progressives’ by claiming they value both diversity and solidarity at the same time

  • Equates social spending with progressive welfare goals


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Context: Is the Future American?

  • Schumpeter – creativity of free capitalism

  • Inglehart – shift from redistributive agenda

  • Fukuyama – inevitability of history

  • Putnam – individualism vs. social capital

  • Pierson - escalating costs = permanent austerity

  • Open markets promote human welfare best: WS a burden (ECB, WB, WTO)


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PD: Empirical, Historical, Conceptual Confusion

  • Not clear that:

    - diversity conflicts solidarity or the goods mentioned

    - US/Europe differences best understood in this way

    - ‘progressives’ currently see solidarity as prime route to social welfare

    - engages with new progressive agenda


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A. Empirical Issues

  • Some impact (Goul, Alesina, Hero, Plotnik): inter-US and US/Europe comparisons

  • Canadian work stresses complexity of relationships, importance of context

  • Diversity does not undermine political trust – Soroka, Banting, Johnston; Banting and Kymlicka etc.

  • Immigration rate affects spending (SBJ 2004)


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Goodhart’s Reference Points: I SJB

  • 17% claim - SJB, 2004

  • ‘Typical industrial society might spend 16-17% more …on social services had it kept its foreign-born % where it was in 1970’ (p.17)

  • ‘Effect wholly political, through direct impact on governing parties’


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Change not diversity

  • Time series regressions 1970-98 : social spending and migrant stock change in political, social and economic context

  • 1998 point correlation between spending and migrant stock is -.287 (not sig.)

  • Rapid change, NOT diversity is the issue: key political issue, how change managed.


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II: Alesina and Glaeser 2004

  • 43% claim: ‘racial fractionalisation’ explains 43% of US/Europe spending gap (p.145)

  • US-Europe differences have more to do with racial .. than .. cultural differences. As Europe has become more diverse, Europeans have .. been susceptible to exactly the same form of racist, anti-welfare demagoguery that worked so well in the US. We shall see whether the generous European welfare state can .. survive in a heterogeneous society [cf. Gilens]


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Distinctiveness of the US

  • Geography and ‘race’

  • Big country, open frontier, undefeated (?) army available to squash strikes

  • Difficult for left to organise/challenge,

  • Unreconstituted 18th century liberal bourgeois constitution

  • Race a resource for politicians to divide the working class


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‘Left in Govt.’ underminesAlesina’s Measure of Race


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The US is Politically Distinctive

  • US Left weak, for specific historic reasons

  • Diversity contributed, but no necessary reason the same should happen in Europe - unless European political institutions change radically


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B. Historically

  • European welfare states followed different trajectories, influenced by strength of political actors and institutional barriers and opportunities

  • ‘Democratic class struggle’, emerging middle class interests, govt support for national competitiveness significant

  • Majoritarian vs consensus polities and degree of corporatism also relevant


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Changing Welfare Settlements

  • Keynes/ Bismarck + Beveridge settlement: welfare indirectly productive through counter-cyclic investment/ legitimation

  • But technological change/ globalisation destabilise nation authority/ Keynesian settlement

  • Liberal or welfare monetarist prescriptions


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Different Patterns

  • UK – ‘Third Way’: responsibility, opportunity, anti-poverty policies

  • France and Germany – shift from socially divisive ‘welfare without work’ towards activation/constraint on social insurance

  • Sweden – toughening of ALMP

  • EU – activation + safety-net + protection at work (+ open market + G and S Pact)


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C Conceptually:A New Welfare Politics

  • Degree of corporatism, influence of unions, tradition of labour market regulation varies

  • New policies mainly(?) driven by govt + ‘modernising coalitions’ – unions/business

  • Cf réfondation sociale in France vs slow change in Germany

  • Progressivism no longer built on class solidarity


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Common Themes (?)

  • Activation, spending constraint, targeted welfare for the (working/deserving) poor

  • Progressive agenda:

    - Reciprocity; political trust; new forms of democracy; greater opportunity

    - NOT: class solidarity; NOR egalitarianism


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Conclusion I

  • Progressive Dilemma:

    • ignores differences between US and Europe

    • history of social spending

    • mistaken about current progressive agenda


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Conclusion II

  • Real issue: how can progressive policies

    • expand opportunities

    • promote trust in govt

    • contribute to successful diversity in reformed welfare states?


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