The Public Interest

The British debate the welfare state

Timothy Raison

Fall 1965

A few years back, Britons looking for a postwar achievement to boast about would frequently single out the Welfare State. Some– among the few who have not succumbed to the current complicated blend of humility and false modesty– still do. But many others have their doubts. They feel that other nations’ health services may be at least as good as ours and their social security, housing, and education are often more lavish and more efficient. Or they may feel that in some almost indefinable way welfare has become an obsession, and a corrupting, enfeebling one at that, which drains away both initiative and resources that would be better spent on other things.

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