Key Points:

  • The sustainability and desirability of the traditional welfare state has been widely called into question.
  • In South Africa, the minister of finance, Trevor Manuel, has expressed concern that current trends in welfare expenditure cannot be sustained, and has advocated the desirability of reducing general dependency on social grants and promoting self-reliance among citizens.
  • How, and on what basis, one should proceed to achieve these ends are questions we urgently need to address.
  • A number of very useful publications on this subject have recently appeared in the developed world. In this monograph, we highlight some of the most pertinent ones in an effort to advance the quality of the South African debate.