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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars has to be read
I read this book when it was first published. I found it quite difficult, as it did not just think the unthinkable, it actually said it. But the arguments made a lot of sense.
Is it not a fact, that institutions, when they start their life, are really necessary?They come about because they answer some pressing need in society. They promise great improvements in the...
Published 5 months ago by Marta Clare

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad Research, Ideologically Motivated, Yet Still Of Value
Bartholomew, a journalist who has written for The Telegraph and the Daily Mail believes that every part of the welfare state in Britain is a disaster, including schools, universities, the benefits system and the National Health Service. In fact he seems to want to believe that the UK welfare state is even worse than everybody else's. He fits the Daily Mail stereotype in...
Published 15 months ago by Gilbert Hall


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars has to be read, 16 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Welfare State We're In (Paperback)
I read this book when it was first published. I found it quite difficult, as it did not just think the unthinkable, it actually said it. But the arguments made a lot of sense.
Is it not a fact, that institutions, when they start their life, are really necessary?They come about because they answer some pressing need in society. They promise great improvements in the lives of their supporters -- and initially they deliver. Then they become more and more powerful and at some point their power, far from being beneficial, becomes oppressive to the individual and damaging to society. This is what happened to the trade unions.

It is more difficult to evaluate the long term impact of the welfare state. How could anyone object to the wonderful idealism behind the creation of the welfare state? Yet, the tree is known by its fruit.

It took a great deal of courage for James Bartholomew to publish "The Welfare State we are in" in 2004. It was received with great enthusiasm by those who already thought that there was something not altogether wonderful about the kind of nation 60 years of the welfare state led to, and of course with derision by those who are hostile to any challenge to their cherished views.

The new edition is a paperback (I wish it was an e-book).
It has been brought up to date with another 10 years of experience of the ills plaguing our society. I wonder whether James Bartholomew's well documented analysis will bring him yet more readers who get a sense of relief when reading what they themselves do not dare to say and whether he is still going to get the customary attacks from the wilfully blind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leviathan state, 27 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Welfare State We're In (Paperback)
Bartholomew's book offers a telling and much needed exposure of how the modern welfare state has undermined the liberty and integrity of its citizens and created an evolving condition of servility and dependence. It is a must read for all those interested in reducing bureaucracy and enabling liberty and responsibility
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Intervention., 8 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Welfare State We're In (Paperback)
This book is not what other reviewers have labelled it. That is to say, it is not at all a treatise on the need for charities to assume the functions presently carried out by government, nor is it an attempt at class warfare.

Mr. Bartholomew does not, it seems to me, want to harm the poor or their interests; quite the opposite in fact. His book attempts to show the inadequacies of the welfare state; the problems that it has caused society as a whole and particularly those who find themselves, through necessity, most subject to it; and, finally, to debunk the notion, which has entered the realm of received opinion, that the welfare state is and has been nothing other than a force for good in Britain.

The tone of the work is neither condescending nor idealist, but rests firmly in the domain of realism. It is refreshing in its objectivity and relies on a lightness of style that makes what is ordinarily a dreary subject stand out from the page.

Though hinting at possible solutions, this book does not set out any firm means of progressive change. Therein lies its weakness. Overall, it is a well-evidenced, balanced, and erudite work characterised by a humanist's touch and a satirist's wit.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK !!!!!, 10 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Welfare State We're In (Paperback)
Without question the most important book on the welfare state, but much more than this, one of the most important political/social/historical works of the last half century. Bartholomew describes, like no-one before him, how the welfare state has shaped modern Britain (for the worse) and indeed how it has damaged Western society as a whole in the past 50-60 years, in ways you can't imagine. Like nothing else I've read, the book shows, beyond any possible doubt, how the real victims of welfare are the very people it's meant to help. A devastating book, meticulously researched, brilliantly argued. I defy any supporter of the welfare state to respond in kind. I have bought many copies of this book to give to others. I would urge you all to read the thing, or remain in your black, stinking pit of ignorance and sin. I mean it.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent counter to Marxist social science content, 11 July 2006
By 
I bought this book along with Dalrympole's Life at the Bottom, and Magnet's The Dream and the Nightmare: the legacy of the nineteen sixties. Together they provided a necessary antedote to the tiresome, Marxist/feminist drivel passed off as rational social science in my university course. As with Dalrympole's view, Bartholomew argues convincingly that the welfare state has not only impoverished peoples' lives but controlled them. I am not sure if society would be better off without some form of state welfare, it certainly would benefit with reduced 'nanny state' levels that it has reached today. The 1946 National Insurance Act which enacted the Beveridge Report of 1942 was able to survive as it did thanks in large part to the UK's slice of Marshall Aid. The economic boom of the 1950s ensured full employment and a strong economic growth and industrial output. By the time the economic bubble finally burst in 1976, thanks to the oil crisis, the welfare state had become an uncontrollable monster, and was simply economically unsustainable. Thatcher tried to downsize it but expendature on welfare rose throughout her terms of office and beyond. Welfare has become so ingrained in society that talk of immigration is linked to their right to welfare rather than employment. Bartholomew injects must needed common sense into the debate on welfare. It's no surprise that the university material makes no referrence to his book, then again, the ideology of the course writers reflects the controlling ideology underpinning the welfare state that Bartholomew opposes. Another book I commend is Unlocking Carol's Smile (Trafford Publishing) which, although a novel, is a common sense approach to homeless issues. The writer draws on his experience working in the field to bring the characters and their conflicts to life. The central character is disillusioned with left wing politics, impulsive, emotionally intense to the point that he is involved in an unlikely relationship with a homeless woman. At this level, the relationship challenges a taboo within social services. So there we are, four books that serve not only to enlighten and help one articulate common sense arguments against Marxist/feminist inspired social constructionism,they are well written page turners.
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98 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A devastatingly powerful book, 7 Nov 2004
This is not a dry sociological study. Page by compelling page Mr Bartholomew shows that the welfare state has been a disaster for Britain. The well-meaning welfare programmes of the government have impoverished, criminalized, demoralized and yes, even killed through neglect and incompetence those who are most vulnerable in our society. This book will help to shift the terms of the political debate. Anecdotes, illustrations and statistical evidence reinforce one another chapter after chapter and make for compulsive and fascinating reading. A striking aspect of this book is that the author shows that many of the issues were correctly diagnosed and addressed by the great nineteenth century social reformers, only to have their basic lessons disregarded or forgotten in the twentieth century. Truly those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it. Importantly, Mr Bartholomew does not merely criticize the welfare state, he persuasively shows that Britain was once and could be again a dynamic compassionate and civil society sustained by and reinforcing a healthy morality in the private sector. The government is the problem, not the solution. The evidence is all here, clearly laid out. Press this book into the hands of every civil servant, teacher and doctor you know.
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67 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pragmatic anaysis of the modern welfare state, 23 Nov 2004
By A Customer
A good analysis of the history of welfare in Britain and it's effects on society that isn't blinded by abstract socialist ideology and dogma, but rather takes a very pragmatic look at the successes and failures of welfare over the past few hundred years.
What makes this book particularly interesting is that the modern welfare state is put into historical perspective, as the author himself points out: few people today are familiar with what came before the post-WWII welfare state. Also good is the comparison of the performance of our modern welfare state with other European nations which have traditionally been considered more socialist than Britain, but which it turns out have far more mixed systems than pure state-run Britain.
This book might not be liked by those with grand ideological pretensions as the language is purely pragmatic rather than abstract.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The welfare state we're in, 25 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Welfare State We're In (Paperback)
This is a superb and timely study of how the welfare state has been a huge cost in every sense for all of us. I highly recommend this book: the writers wears his learning and research lightly and despite the seriousness of the subject it reads like a novel.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a brilliant book., 6 July 2006
Despite our great wealth, depression, anxiety, anger disorders and addictions are increasing dramatically in this country and the source of much of this can be traced to the type of society politicians have created over the last 100 years: the Welfare State. Bartholomew shows how this happened and why, despite the good intentions of most of those individuals responsible for it, it is not good for us. Indeed it has proved to be a social disaster.

Despite what some reviewers have said I did not find this to be "a right wing" analysis at all. It is honest and heartfelt and apolitical, written by a man who used to assume, like most of us, that the Welfare State ideal was "a good thing".

If you take the trouble to read it, no hardship since it is so well written and full of a huge number of riveting real-life stories, it will revitalise your understanding of why governments of the last 50 years have made such a mess of this country: even if they didn't mean to. Nature did not design the human brain to become addicted to having 'the State' solve all our problems for us. To go against how Nature designed us to operate - which is that we must stretch ourselves to solve problems individually and thereby survive in the world - is making us very sickly indeed.

Anyone with a clear head can learn from this book.
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51 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slaves of the welfare state, 31 Oct 2004
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T. Burkard (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
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Review-The Welfare State We're In
by James Bartholomew
The welfare state has been the sacred cow of British politics since the Beveridge 'reforms' were instituted by the Attlee Government at the end of the war. Although almost everyone concedes that the welfare state isn't working, most people think it just needs a thorough overhaul. This book could well shift the terms of the debate.
Bartholomew has done his homework thoroughly. He offers convincing evidence that before the first war, friendly societies and voluntary organisations provided a surprisingly effective safety-net for the working man. Starting in 1911 and even before, all these self-help measures were gradually swept away by the state-which taxed everyone, especially the working man-to pay for state-funded welfare. The extent to which this has degraded the poor is symbolised by the typical social security office, where the chairs are bolted to the floor, and officials hide behind shatterproof glass screens.
This book is as lucidly written as it is well-researched. Bartholomew offers compelling evidence that state services, including welfare, education, health, police and pensions are all in utter shambles. No one will be able to read this book and still believe that "the gentleman in Whitehall really does know best".
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The Welfare State We're In
The Welfare State We're In by James Bartholomew (Paperback - 7 Jan 2014)
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