It is now time to leave behind the political mainstream and to look at some ideas that are often found on the fringes of the Western political system. All of the ideologies and movements dealt with so far have had some degree of electoral success and have been involved in developing, defending or reforming the welfare state. Each, in its own distinctive way, works within the confines of the capitalist system and seems content to compete for control over parliamentary or congressional chambers. The ideologies covered in Chapters 2–6 are democratic and reformist. They compete over the jurisdiction of the state and vary considerably in the scope of their economic and social programmes. The next three chapters, however, are dedicated to those who have yet to secure a significant amount of power in Western systems and who tend to be critical of the political mainstream. We begin by taking a look at the ideas of the Marxists. Rather than argue that capitalism should be saved through prudent economic management and constructive welfare policies, many Marxists believe that capitalism is flawed as an economic system and positively dangerous in the values it promotes. From a Marxist perspective, rights to welfare are given not to secure a fairer system, out of benevolence or in recognition of the importance of advancing some form of equality, but to protect and conceal the selfish interests of the capitalist class. This interpretation of welfare systems will be illustrated by drawing upon the ideas of classical Marxists (Marx, Engels and Lenin) and contemporary Marxist authors (Gough, Ginsburg, Navarro, Miliband and Offe).
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