The Public Interest

Towards a self-service society?

Nathan Glazer

Winter 1983

PERHAPS nothing so clearly indicates the possible future shape of the welfare society than the surprising convergence, in at least one respect, of the proposals of two such disparate regimes as the Socialist government of France and the right-wing Republican government of the United States: Both have committed themselves to a substantial degree of decentralization or devolution of central governmental powers. The hallowed tradition of prefectoral government in France is due for substantial overhaul and change, giving greater powers to locally elected executives and legislatures. The enormous structure of central government grants to state and local government in the United States is already undergoing substantial overhaul.

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