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The Social Contract Revisited: The Modern Welfare State

Amir Paz-Fuchs
Publication date: 
Fri, 25 May 2012

This report summarizes the three-year programme investigating the social contract and the modern welfare state. It provides an overview of social contract theory and a history of its evolution over the last century, as it is used to inform welfare policy by governments in various parts of the world, including Scandinavia, Latin America, the UK and the United States.

The report asssess how the social contract impacts on institutions such as the famliy, education, health, and civil society, before addressing specific recent challenges such as globalization, economic austerity measures, and the effect of an ageing population on pension provision.
By examining the tax system and analysing possible alternatives such as a spending tax or basic income, the report addresses the challenges faced by policymakers to create a fair, affordable welfare system, and lays out a framework through which social contract theory can help us to reach a better understanding of an equitable welfare state.