Do welfare states boost economic growth, or stunt it? It’s not an easy question to answer. The evidence suggests it’s a wash – the positive and negative effects balance out.
The same basic idea links every welfare state: that the ultimate responsibility for ensuring people don’t starve on the street should lie not with family, or charity, or private insurers, but with government. This idea is not without its enemies. It is possible, after all, to mother too much. Every parent instinctively knows that there’s a balance: protect, but don’t mollycoddle; nurture resilience, not dependence. And if overprotective parenting stunts personal growth, might too-generous welfare states stunt economic growth?
Producer: Ben Crighton
Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon
(Image: Frances Perkins, Credit: Getty Images)
Sources and related links
Kirstin Downey - The woman behind the new deal: The life and legacy of Frances Perkins - Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Minimum Wage, Anchor Books, 2010