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The welfare state is one of Britain’s crowning achievements. Or is it? In this seminal book, now studied in universities in Britain and elsewhere, James Bartholomew advances the sacrilegious argument that, however well meaning its founders, the welfare state has done more harm than good. He argues that far from being the socialist utopia the post-war generation dreamed of, the welfare state has led to avoidable deaths in the NHS, falling standards in schools, permanent mass unemployment and many other unintended consequences. At a deeper level, he contends that the welfare state has caused millions to live deprived and even depraved lives, undermining the very decency and kindness which first inspired it. This landmark book changed the way many people think about the welfare state. It played a major role in the political debate that led to recent reforms. Now with a new introduction by the author assessing the value of these reforms, this classic text still shocks with the power of its arguments and the weight of its supporting evidence.

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