The Rise and Spread of Workfare, Activation, Devolution, and Privatization, and the Changing Status of Citizenship
56 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2008
The paper discusses the changes in welfare policies in the U.S. since 1996 - "Ending Welfare As We Know It." There has been a rapid decline in welfare caseloads. The vast majority of those who left the rolls have been sanctioned, denied entry, take low-paid work, and remain in poverty. Caseworkers, whether public or private, are overworked, under-trained, and under pressure to produce favorable statistical results. They concentrate on those who are the most employable or take the least amount of caseworker time. Left out are those who have significant barriers to employment. The conclusion is that administrative incapacity is an additional argument for a basic income guarantee. The concluding part of the paper looks briefly at trends in other countries, principally Western Europe. Programs vary, but preliminary research reveals similar tendencies with "activation." Welfare has become more conditional, there has been devolution to local governments, and privatization (called "marketization" in Europe).
Keywords: welfare policies, employment, poverty
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