The Age of Austerity: Contesting the Ethical Basis and Financial Sustainability of Welfare Reform in Europe

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This paper examines the policy of austerity in three European welfare regimes with differing levels of social spending and fiscal balance: Italy; Sweden; and the UK. In spite of significant material differences between the three countries, the paper begins by illustrating that there is ultimately convergence in their responses to the economic crisis. These welfare regimes have justified the terms of austerity by suggesting that economic and welfare reforms address questions of ‘need’, ‘fairness’ and ‘sustainability’. Contrary to dominant political and policy rationale, the paper demonstrates that austerity measures in each country fail to meet policy objectives given their own conceptions of social and distributive justice. The three welfare regimes lack cogent strategies to safeguard their financial sustainability and this results in a neo-liberal paradigm that compromises the ethical and internal coherence of austerity.
Idioma originalEnglish
Pàgines (de-a)118-131
Nombre de pàgines14
RevistaJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Volum22
Número2
DOIs
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 11 de jul. 2014

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