Hardly any phenomenon annoys the neoliberals more than the welfare state. Most people in power – including those who are eager to cut social services – are well aware of what happened to the royal family and nobility during the French Revolution. Therefore, it is usually sufficient to take out this tiny, but razor-sharp, finger guillotine and perform some very telling cuts in the air.
There is hardly any phenomenon that annoys the neoliberals more than the welfare state. Even tax, albeit in smaller doses, they can tolerate as it can finance the property-protecting institutions police, courts and the military. The welfare state, on the other hand, is so provocative that genuine neoliberals like to attack, not only their own nation’s welfare system, but also those of other countries.
The neoliberals’ boundless irritation at the welfare state must be understood as being doubly provocative for them. For those who support neoliberalism out of sheer greed, the welfare state means spending on something they can pay for themselves and their loved ones: education, health insurance, care for the elderly, etc.
While for economists and politicians who fanatically confess to the neoliberal belief that the free market should solve all problems, the welfare state constitutes troublesome proof that «there is an alternative»: research shows that brutal competition between members of society does not actually lead to the best functioning society. At the same time, maintaining the social services prevents the neoliberal project from being completed. Only when all imaginable sectors are subject to completely unregulated market mechanisms will the conditions be right for the market forces to flourish for the good of all, the neoliberals imagine; for even the smallest remnant of public health services will disrupt the finely tuned mechanisms of the market. Ergo, all of it has to go.
But that is easier said than done, because the majority of the population consider free education and equal access to good and affordable health services to be a matter of course. Even social security benefits in case of disability and unemployment seem to many people to be perfectly fine – at least if they suddenly find themselves needing it. Those who want to abolish the welfare state claim that we cannot afford it, but seen in the light of past practice, this is a strange claim. E.g. the British National Health Service (NHS) was established immediately after the war – at a time when Britain’s GDP was lower than it had ever been or would ever be. At the same time, the country had an enormous foreign debt and a large backlog in building housing.
As with many other things, it is easier to tear down than to build up – so it is also with a welfare state. And this is where New Public Management (NPM) comes into play. With a few years of frantic practice of NPM methods in large parts of the public sector, professionals in leading positions, for example in the healthcare system, have been replaced by economists. Through the introduction of a control and regulation regime characterized by top-heavy detailed management and with demands for punctual reporting of target and result achievement, neoliberal ideology has in many places led to a sharp disintegration of the social welfare schemes. The hospital queues are long, the institutions for social services are understaffed and their employees are demotivated. This spreads mistrust and an attitude that public welfare offers are worse than private ones, and that the private offer is needed to relieve the burden on the public. As more and more people choose to use private schools, health and care services, the stage is set for further cuts. And so we keep things going in a destructive round dance.
Despite scientific evidence, common sense and historical facts, we find in the neoliberalists much of the same stiff-necked stubbornness that characterized the ruling elite before the French Revolution. One could perhaps argue that the means did not justify the end when it comes to the ravages of the guillotine, but at least it changed the course of history – and effectively indeed.
Based on this, we believe that the Welfare State Cut Cutter is an excellent tool in the work to protect the welfare state. Political sticky fingers who are performing a zealous austerity, can expect an unforgettable surprise. In practice, they will get a taste of their own medicine, as this neat miniature finger guillotine allows you to meet cuts with cuts. Henceforth, fingertips will roll like French kings’ heads if someone extends their long and community-hostile fingers to cut the welfare state.
A practical and soberly designed Welfare State Cut Cutter in plastic, with blades in hardened steel–- a tool that is confusingly similar to an ordinary cigar cutter.
Instructions for use
If you discover that someone is planning to cut the welfare offer, take out the Welfare State Cut Cutter and keep it clearly visible before making any telling snaps with the cutter. This tool is primarily intended to have a deterrent effect and should only be used if strictly necessary.