This paper discusses the ability of the modern welfare states, particularly in Europe, to adjust to economic shocks. Loss of flexibility is widely perceived to be at the root of the present recession, from which Europe is finding it so difficult to extricate itself. The problem is often presented as though there were single-pronged policies which could increase flexibility without jeopardising other objectives which European states have prized highly. To a certain extent this is true. But it is a delusion to reason as though there were no conflict between objectives, and no need to decide what is the best trade-off between goals which cannot be fully achieved simultaneously.
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- Ability to Adjust and the Problems of European Market Economies
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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