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The ethics of welfare-to-work

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This article explores the shifting ethical foundations of the welfare-to-work or 'workfare' state within the richer capitalist economies of the world. It provides a discussion of the historical context; a critical analysis of competing moral discourses and ethical concepts of responsibility; and, based on this, a heuristic taxonomy of different approaches to welfare-to-work. It concludes with a critique of the dominant approaches to welfare-to-work, contending that they are at worst an affront to human rights and at best ethically ambiguous in that they fail to address people's need, as opposed to their responsibility, to work.

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