In the post-welfare society there has been a fragmentation of social welfare programmes through the introduction of market principles. By 2005, education, subject to these principles, had become a competitive enterprise and a commodity, rather than a preparation for a democratic society. Despite a plethora of reforms, the education system did not appear to serve either the needs of society or the needs of individuals satisfactorily. It could not be regarded as a pillar of a post-welfare society. A characteristic of post-welfare society is the de-personalization of people as human beings into consumers, human resources and human capital. By the 1990s government was firmly committed to the belief that only greater investment in human capital would enable the country to compete in the new global economy. The New Labour government, elected in 1997, made education, training and work central to its politics, claiming that work was crucial in the attempt to unite individual liberalism with a measure of social justice.