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The main argument of the paper is that, in welfare state discourse, neo-liberalism has followed a parabola of expansion (1980-early 1990s), flattening (1990s) and then gradual decline (2000s), leaving room for the emergence of a new postneoliberal ideological synthesis, aimed at bridging the (readapted) socialdemocratic and liberal-democratic traditions. Section 1 illustrates the neo-liberal parabola; section 2 presents the analytical framework; the subsequent four sections discuss the rise, impact, nature and future prospect of liberal neo-welfarism.
The conclusion wraps up, highlighting the creative mix of normative components which underpins the new ideological synthesis.