Over the last twenty years, sociological research into the emergence of the modern welfare state has increased rapidly. This research has generated competing theoretical accounts of the dynamics of social welfare. For example, while some studies attribute the emergence of national social policies to the social and economic changes brought about by industrialization, others stress the role of trade unions in successfully negotiating with reluctant governments for the introduction of social programs. Yet others contend that social programs are purposely introduced by the ruling class in an attempt to stifle the revolutionary potential of the proletariat.

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