During the post-war decades, welfare states became an established part of the political order, in Western Europe at least. Certain fundamental life chances — notably in respect of health and education — were removed from the free market and large-scale systems of compulsory social security were established to provide income maintenance for those outside the labour market. The West Europeans might look to the United States as their model in the field of industrial and technological development but in the social — if not the educational — field they saw themselves as the pacemakers.
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