POLITICS IN THE POST-WELFARE STATE: Responses to the New Individualism by M. Donald & Gideon Sjoberg -- Eds. Hancock

POLITICS IN THE POST-WELFARE STATE: Responses to the New Individualism

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In tackling the question, ""What will life be like in the '70's in the U.S., Sweden, and Great Britain?"" these twenty-odd essays by sociologists (among whom the best-known is perhaps Christopher Lasch) share certain premises and conclusions. We will sustain ""a society of abundance,"" says Sjoberg, and unemployment will be a thing of the past (welcome news to the millions of 1971 unemployed). In this ""post-welfare state"" everyone will be guaranteed a decent income (including, presumably, those now being thrown off welfare). All of society's material needs will be filled, though the contributors do not condescend to detail how rotting cities, obsolete industries, and world starvation will be remedied. All agree that basic problems will not be economic (current indicators to the contrary, like wage freezes and monetary crises, are not acknowledged) but rather the travail of comfortable individuals finding meaning in their lives: Smith is perhaps the most emphatic critic of the perils of affluence. All in all, like the deathless statement by a stockbroker in 1929 about the market's permanently high plateau, this book may well stand as a monument to the dangers of the extrapolation of trends.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Columbia Univ. Press