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The Neo-liberal State$
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Raymond Plant

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281756

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281756.001.0001

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The Welfare State and the Politics of Social Justice

The Welfare State and the Politics of Social Justice

(p.113) Chapter 6 The Welfare State and the Politics of Social Justice
The Neo-liberal State

Raymond Plant (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This is the first of two chapters which look at the policy implications of the neo‐liberal rejection of the social democratic ideal of social justice. This will look at the difference between rule‐based or nomocratic orders on the one hand and policy and outcome‐oriented views on the other. In order to make these ideas relevant to policy, there is an analysis of various conceptions of social justice and in the context of welfare provision, one based primarily on meeting needs. Most neo‐liberal thinkers (but not Menger) are critical of the idea that it is the job of the state to meet needs and the various reasons for this approach are analysed and explained. The chapter also looks at the way in which the provision of welfare has baleful consequences from a neo‐liberal perspective. It cannot be made compatible with the rule of law because of the degree of discretion which has to be left in the hands of welfare officials. It brings about the formation of interest groups and coalitions of such groups whose aim is to extract from government what they see from their own point of view as their just share of public provision. The chapter also looks at the extent to which neo‐liberal views also support the critique of welfare provision based on the alleged dependency which such a state creates.

Keywords:   Welfare, Needs, Discretion, Judgement, Dependency

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