In reviewing ideological perspectives on welfare, special attention has been paid in this volume to the role of the state in the provision of social services and to at least some of the alternatives to state provision. We have seen that theorists and practitioners both comment upon existing provision and discuss possibilities for the future development of human welfare. Responsibility for the advancements of welfare is given to different sections of society by the various ideologies. Ultimate responsibility could lie with individuals, the state, self-help groups, the voluntary sector or with a mixed economy of provision. The various ideologies also differ in the value they place upon charity, social rights, freedom, equality and social justice. It is hoped that the ideologies selected will provide readers with a range of ideas, from which they can pick and mix and use to evaluate their own ideas of welfare. An attempt has been made to include those ideologies that helped to form the welfare state (liberalism, conservatism and social democracy), those that have been instrumental in reforming the welfare state (neo-liberalism and the third way) and those that cast doubt upon the value of the welfare state (Marxism, feminism and the greens). While it is acknowledged that this list is by no means comprehensive, it is hoped that enough variety is provided to suit most political tastes. In this final chapter, an attempt will be made to draw together some of this material and to identify some of the ways in which ideologies can assist us in understanding issues of welfare.
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