‘The Welfare State We’re In’ to be re-published next month.

I am delighted that The Welfare State We’re In is to be re-published next month. It has been out of print for several years – frustrating since I have known of one university, at least, which wanted to use it alongside its economics course.

I have written a new introduction assessing how things have gone since the book was written.

Getting to re-publication has been, as Tony Blair would say, a journey. The original computer files ready for printing were lost. The book had to be scanned, page by page and re-edited. Authorisation for photos had to be obtained all over again. I wanted the quality of the paper and the size of the format to be as good or better than the original and that costs money.

I am honoured that Biteback wanted to bring it back into print. Some people love the book and some hate it. It is now mentioned in new editions of a vast sociology textbook which sells in hundreds of thousands called, Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Michael Haralambos and Martin Holborn. The summary of the book there is quite fair. The commentary is simply an attack. Still, it is nice that it is considered influential enough to be worth attacking. I know I will never write anything better.

  1. Old Cliftonian magazine review of The Welfare State We’re In
  2. ‘The Welfare State We’re In’ receives award
  3. The welfare state makes us less happy
  4. ‘The welfare state is too serious a matter to be left to the socialists”
  5. “The State of Welfare” and the truth about fraud.
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15 Responses to ‘The Welfare State We’re In’ to be re-published next month.

  1. Philip Talmage says:

    Did too little happen in the last ten years, then, to justify a whole new edition, rather than a reprint?

  2. James Bartholomew says:

    It would have been nice to have a revised and updated version. But it would be a big task to create it and it would not have greatly add to or change the argument in The Welfare State We’re In. I hope that the case made in the book that the welfare state can do and has done damage to Britain is the main thing.

    • HJ says:


      Have you been watching ‘Welfare Street”? Perhaps you should read Fraser Nelson;s excellent piece on the Spectator web site.

      I’d also be interested in your views on the Universal credit (which is intended to both protect and incentivise welfare claimants) – is it a good plan or do we really need to tear away at welfare more drastically?

  3. Andrew Witcombe-Small says:

    This is tremendous news. I read the book (which confirmed all my darkest suspicions) after borrowing it from the library and have never actually owned a copy.

    The passage of time will simply provide you with more evidence to back up your case.

  4. Dave B says:

    Are you still intending to publish “The Way We Live Now” book about the welfare states of the world?

    • James Bartholomew says:

      Yes, I am. the working title has changed to “The Welfare of Nations”. I have written the first draft but there is a long way to go before it is edited and published. I hope it will be out towards the end of 2014.

  5. David says:

    Please make “The Welfare of Nations” avaliable for people with Kobos.

    I hope that one day the welfare state we are in becomes a history book as opposed to a current affairs book.

    • James Bartholomew says:

      The book is currently only available in a printed edition but an electronic edition is on its way. I am not sure from when it will be available but I hope it will not be more than a month or two.

  6. shane says:

    I’ve a copy of the 2006 edition which I enjoyed reading a few years ago and have recently been reading again, particularly the history of welfare in the UK. I’d be fascinated to read your introduction to the new edition. Will you be releasing that separately?

  7. Chris Hindle says:

    I watched your appearance on ‘Going Underground’ today
    I was offended by your ideas, which are little more than a rehash of MH Thatcher’s practice of blaming the victims for the abject failure of the greedy monetarist policies of Friedman and the Chicago School.
    You will no doubt be pleased to know a re-run of the Friedman primary experiment in Chile has just got under way in the Ukraine. I look forward to watching how the venomous right wing media will spin this one.


  8. Clive Broadhead says:

    I lived in West Germany during the cold war and Hong Kong when it was still a British Colony. West Germany had, for the average citizen, an equitable and effective welfare system, based on compulsory national insurance, similar to the UK. Hong Kong had private provision for the expats and a cheap “poor law” type welfare system for the majority of locals – in my view, it was welfare apartheid.

    Is your aim to destroy the successful welfare system of the UK, to reduce taxes for rich bankers and those with heredity wealth, who do not use, or need, the NHS?

    • James Bartholomew says:

      The thesis of the book is that the British welfare state has not been successful – that it has actually caused the greatest damage to those whom it was meant to help. It has caused permanent mass unemployment, widespread illiteracy and premature deaths all of which would not have happened without it. I hope you will read the book and particularly the references to Hong Kong which had remarkable economic growth. Penniless immigrants from Communist China – who had risked their lives to get there – raised themselves to a vastly better condition. Hong Kong’s GDP per capita, from an extremely low base, rose spectacularly and overtook that of the UK in the 1990s.

      • Clive Broadhead says:

        The welfare system in Hong Kong is underfunded, ineffective and inefficient. If it was better, as in Germany, many expats would use it rather than returning to the UK for treatment.

        Public health care in Hong Kong is a cheap “poor law” alternative to expensive medical care. It is only used by those with low incomes, even lower expectations and no real alternative.

        Recent GDP growth may be higher than in the UK and the rest of the developed world, but the economic growth is from a low base and on the back of the skilled cheap labour from mainland China.

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