King Willem-Alexander (i.e. the Dutch government) declares: classical welfare state is unsustainable

He said this, in English, on Prinsjesdag 2013:

The transition to a participation sociaty is particularly visible in social security and long-term care. The traditional welfare state from the second half of the twentieth century, produced schemes precisely in these areas that in their current form are unsustainable and are not suited to people’s expectations. In these times, people want to make their own choices, their own lives and to arrange care for each other. It fits with developing care and social services close to people and to organize these in conjunction with citizens. To achieve this, the government decentralizes government stakes in three areas […].

To which we now have a critique: ‘Did The Dutch Start The End Of Social Europe?’ by  Jose Igancio Torreblanca. I encourage to read the article but this sentence is central:

The Dutch government now thinks that some aspects of welfare should again be the business of the individual, while others should devolve upon local rather than national authorities.

I know that a lot of Dutch people are not at all happy with this. To many it feels if the costs of care are just put on the shoulders of individual citizens. This is especially true with the concept of ‘mantelzorg’, where elderly or otherwise needy people get access to official care only if close relations (family, neighbours, friends) cannot anymore cope with providing care. In an aging society there is a problem of keeping the welfare state working, but this does not seem like the right way to me.


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