Commercial and Occupational Welfare
As previous chapters show, the restructuring of state welfare in recent decades has inspired an extensive reappraisal of traditional accounts of British welfare provision. While, however, there has been renewed interest in informal and voluntary care, the production and consumption of private welfare has attracted little historical interest and is still framed by the concerns of postwar analysts. Whether in the hands of its neo-liberal advocates or their Fabian and Marxist critics it has been presented as an undifferentiated entity, conceived in terms of either the assumed economic calculations of providers (the so-called ‘for-profit’ sector) or price-theory mechanisms (as a representation of ‘the market’ or ‘market welfare’). While rhetorically effective this essentialism has tended to mask the disparate arrangements and processes that constitute the trading of welfare (Hindess, 1987; Papadakis and Taylor-Gooby, 1987). It has also led to a skewed focus on services displaced by the state and the neglect of those that continued to be privately purchased and produced.
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