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Assess the view that the welfare state is the cause of poverty rather than the solution

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Assess the view that the welfare state is the cause of poverty rather than the solution In the UK we have a welfare state, which allows the government to take responsibility for the well being of the citizens through a range of benefits and services. There are many reasons as to why there is such a high rate of poverty in the UK, for example exclusion and dependency based approaches, which also links in to the blame of the welfare state. The modern welfare state was first introduced in 1948 and since then there have been numerous reasons that suggest the welfare state causes poverty, which have been tackled by many sociological approaches. However, there are also benefits towards the welfare state. An obvious view that tackles the idea that the welfare state is to blame for poverty is the New Right approach by theorists such as Marsland; they argue that it is a direct and indirect cause to poverty that will always cause inequality between people. Marsland believes that in a Capitalist society wealth is created by the people who run the successful companies and the entrepreneurs, which everyone else then relies upon for jobs. ...read more.


However, this approach can be heavily criticised, as there are a number of benefits the welfare state has made in order to reduce poverty and they have worked successfully. If there were no such thing, as a welfare state the amount of poverty would increase, it would also mean that there would be a split in society: the very wealthy and the poor. There is also a minimum wage, which is made to protect workers from being exploited and it should allow them to be able to provide the basic needs. Once again if there was no such thing as the welfare state employees would not have this protection and it would allow employers to take advantage and give ridiculous pay, resulting in more poverty. The New Right approach contrasts with the social democratic approach (1940-1980) as it sees the welfare state as trying to combat poverty by helping those in need; this was then later developed in to the 'Third way'. This approach argued that for some groups certain things happen to them in which no one is to blame. ...read more.


It is clear that some sociologists believe that the welfare state is to blame for poverty as a cause rather than a solution, which can be agreed with but also argued. I mainly agree with the New Right view, in that the welfare state is too generous to groups in society and this has an effect on why we have poverty. Mainly down to that it rewards individuals who are too lazy to work by giving them money or providing them with a house, instead of only providing it to the people who actually aren't at fault for their poverty. This then encourages other people to follow these individuals and the problem grows. I believe that the welfare state should be more selective with benefits and people should have to undertake a means test, instead of handing out universal benefits, as this would give people more incentives to work. Although the welfare state is not fully to blame for poverty as there will always be some sort of poverty as long as there is inequality. People will always be richer then others meaning people are also poorer and therefore they will be listed as in poverty. Alicia Lloyd-Jones ...read more.

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