A Long Goodbye to Bismarck?
The core question is straightforward: is the Bismarckian or, if you wish, the Conservative, or Continental welfare model being undone? Where is it heading? The answers I have managed to distill from my reading are less straightforward. In an attempt to arrive at some kind of clarity, I am tempted to conclude the following: one, the glass seems only half full (or half empty if you prefer); two, there is a striking degree of convergence in the Bismarckian nations’ adaptation profiles; three, and rather paradoxically, almost all nations’ reform endeavors look rather incoherent. They are moving in a similar direction, but whereto? Is it just the same old model in new packaging? Are they forging a new, hitherto undefined, model? Are they closing in on either the Liberal or Social Democratic alternative? Or will they emerge as hybrids? In order to assess where the Bismarckian model is heading we obviously also need to keep in mind that its regime-competitors are in the midst of transformation, too.
Bruno Palier (ed.)
Amsterdam University Press

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