Asbjørn Røiseland and Signy Irene Vabo
Changes, Challenges and Policy Implications for Europe in Times of Austerity
Bettina Leibetseder, Anneli Anttonen, Einar Øverbye, Charles Pace and Signy Irene Vabo
Welfare pluralism, in its initial conceptualisation, sought to bring together the best welfare providers, including families and the community, while lowering expenditures. Ideally, a plurality of providers would ensure better quality, consumer choice, and universal but at the same time more individualized services. In this chapter, we raise questions about recent transformations in the welfare mix, which we call the ‘re-mix’ of social care, based on the empirical material shared within the COST Action IS1102, which points to a high degree of disarray. Compared to earlier decades that had witnessed a stable or growing level of state intervention, the current re-mixing among service providers is characterized by fragmentation and differentiation, while there is no attempt to address the question of how best to provide social care. In the end, we argue that: (1) the current organisation of care services is reinforcing inequalities between less and more affluent users; (2) the current division of responsibility in the provision, regulation and financing of care services is favouring for-profit and self-employed caregivers, without enabling collaboration and synergies among providers; (3) the current re-mixes are hindering both equality among service providers and universal provision.