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The Care Economy: More State, Less Market

a wad of dollars and a piece of paper with the text paid sick leave. text and money on a yellow background

Every society must choose which goods and services—from education to roads to health care—to provide publicly and which to relegate to the realm of individual responsibility. Over the past five decades, political actors have used the dominant ideological paradigm, often referred to as “neoliberalism, “to justify moving a wide range of goods and services into the private sphere. When deployed in the social policy arena, neoliberalism treats social problems as personal issues, best addressed by individuals who are labeled “failures” if they cannot address them alone. But at the same time as neoliberalism calls for unfettered markets, it promotes policing individual behavior to generate a compliant and efficient workforce, and it has been used to reshape welfare state programs into profit-generating instruments for private enterprise. Indeed, the political goal of facilitating profit for the powerful underpins the entirety of this contradictory but forceful ideology.

The proposed establishment of a federal paid leave program, which builds on the scaffolding of state temporary disability programs established in the 1940s, picks up where the income support programs of the mid-twentieth century left off.

Read more in Democracy.

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