Edward J. Martin and Rodolfo D. Torres offer a new and critical approach to the study of the welfare state in contemporary capitalist society. The authors not only demonstrate the analytical utility of classical Marxist theory, but also draw on wider critical 'postmodern' frameworks in the study of contemporary welfare capitalism. It is in this approach that they set out to argue that a critique of welfare policy within the context of capitalism is more timely and important than ever before. The authors go on to explore the demise of welfare policy in the United States using the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 as a point of departure.
While liberal Keynesian theory argues that welfare policy can be managed through the state, Martin and Torres, argue that ultimately this relationship is problematic due to the limits imposed on it by the logic of capitalist social relations. The role of the state in capitalist society is evaluated along with other comparative welfare policy models. The book concludes with an analytic statement of alternative futures in the era of an empire of inequality. Savage State will be invaluable reading for students of sociology, politics, and social policy.