Moral Economy and the Welfare State
This chapter discusses the social expenditure in the United States (US) in the context of a broader discussion of the significance of social welfare in the American political economy. In the US, social welfare has come to play a central role in economy and polity, influencing dynamics of the labour market, corroding traditional mechanisms for price stabilisation, altering the distribution of income shares, and changing the configuration of political conflict. The chapter argues that the concerted attack on social welfare is an attack on developments that have altered the basic outlines of American economic and political institutions. It discusses what might be called the emerging ‘moral economy of the welfare state’. Domestic inflation is also disadvantageous in marketing goods in a world economy. The chapter concludes with the outcome of the inevitable conflict over social welfare spending is central to the future course of the American political economy.