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Social Policy in Challenging TimesEconomic Crisis and Welfare Systems$
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Kevin Farnsworth and Zoe Irving

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428288

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428288.001.0001

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Varieties of crisis

Varieties of crisis

(p.1) One Varieties of crisis
Social Policy in Challenging Times

Kevin Farnsworth

Zoë Irving

Policy Press

The current financial crisis has major implications for welfare states. Governments face mounting levels of debt and fiscal black holes, companies face falling demand and limited liquidity to sustain or promote current liabilities, and individuals face lower wages and lower incomes. Yet the pain of the economic crisis is not evenly distributed: some nations clearly confront bigger problems than others and recovery from the crisis is also likely to be variable. The extent to which the economic crisis has hit nations and its long-term impact on social policies have been shaped and mediated by existing political institutions and dominant economic frameworks. Drawing upon the welfare state classification literature, this chapter seeks to make sense of how and why state form was important to creating the crisis and shaping its impact on welfare systems. It considers the extent to which the crisis might interrupt or transform dominant institutions, and reflects upon its medium- and long-term effects on social policies within different forms of welfare system.

Keywords:   economic crisis, welfare systems, varieties of capitalism, debt, liquidity

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