Descanse en paz el Estado de bienestar

PARÍS – Generalmente es más fácil ver el principio de algo que su fin. El Estado de bienestar, que nació en 1945 en la Gran Bretaña de la posguerra, llegó a su fin esta semana, cuando George Osborne, Ministro de Finanzas del Reino Unido, rechazó el concepto del "beneficio universal", la idea de que todos, no sólo los pobres, deben beneficiarse de la protección social.

El arquitecto del Estado de bienestar, Lord Beveridge, lo describió como una estructura concebida para proteger al individuo "desde la cuna hasta la tumba". Este modelo llegó a imperar en todos los países de Europa Occidental, y las tradiciones y políticas locales definieron la diversidad de su aplicación. Para la década de los sesenta, toda la Europa democrática era socialdemócrata, una combinación de libre mercado y protección social masiva.

El éxito de este modelo superó con mucho todas las expectativas y durante décadas fue la envidia del mundo, como nunca llegaron a serlo ni el capitalismo del "Viejo Oeste" estadounidense, ni el socialismo de Estado soviético o maoísta. La democracia social parecía ofrecer lo mejor de los dos mundos, eficiencia económica y justicia social.

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