The Crisis Imperative
In the struggle by European welfare states to overcome recession during the 1980s, two countries in particular lingered behind. The Netherlands and Belgium exemplified the pathology of ‘welfare without work’ that characterized continental welfare states. In their enduring attempts to improve their macro-economic and financial situations, both states were largely un- able to tackle their most pressing social policy problems. In Belgium, the to- tal unemployment benefits covered income transfers for approximately one million people – roughly one-tenth of their population. Likewise, in the Netherlands roughly one million of the country’s 16 million people received disability benefits. These respective programs were responsible, in large part, for the countries’ high inactivity rates. They represented the Achilles’ heels of their social security systems.
Sanneke Kuipers
Amsterdam University Press

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