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The Housing Debate$
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Stuart Lowe

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847422736

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847422736.001.0001

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Towards asset-based welfare states

Towards asset-based welfare states

(p.199) 8 Towards asset-based welfare states
The Housing Debate

Stuart Lowe

Policy Press

In the UK, the Beveridge-inspired welfare state began to break down in the 1970s under the impact of globalization and was partially replaced with a ‘competition state’, or at least a model that promoted economic efficiency as the principal goal of the welfare effort. Within this paradigm shift, there was a strong emphasis on the ‘financialisation’ of everyday life, in which citizenship became associated with the garnering of personal assets. In a debate between Castles and Kemeny, it became apparent that there was an incentive towards home ownership in many countries as populations aged and pensions spending came under pressure. This ‘Really Big Trade-Off’ debate did not go far enough in exploring the whole of the life-cycle opportunities for homeowners to unlock housing equity through remortgaging so that there has become a ‘Really, Really Big Trade-Off’. Evidence that owner occupiers were using their properties as ‘banks’ to buffer or cushion their welfare needs emerged in path-breaking research. The attitudinal shifts that went with this strongly suggest that asset-based welfare has been commonly practised for several decades.

Keywords:   asset-based welfare, competition state, globalisation, financialisation, equity withdrawal, remortgaging

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