Most social work practitioners and scholars hold an enduring but often unrecognized attachment to the welfare state; the institutional arrangements of welfare developed over the 20th century to manage the problems modern society created. As indicated in Chapter 1, some authors accuse social work of failing to adjust to the inevitability of economic, political and social change; all of which are promoting institutional instability and change. These criticisms join a chorus of claims from across the political spectrum that post-World War II welfare statism has come to the end of its natural (and in the eyes of many, unnatural) life, that the various welfare reform processes of the advanced welfare states are essential, and that further ‘reform’ may well prove necessary. This theme is not new as the welfare state has been considered to be in ‘crisis’ for some time (OECD, 1981; Mishra, 1984; Offe, 1984).
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