Jean-Claude Barbier

Comment on Anton Hemerijck/2. Social Investment, a Problematic Concept with an Ambiguous Past



The comment argues that the notion of "social investment" is a very flexible mantle for including many things under it. Various empirical programmes have been promoted in the EU policy community and in the scientific forums under that name. It is thus difficult to discuss and analyse to what extent the political slogan of a reformed "enabling welfare state" with new characteristics has been accompanied by effective changes, in what countries and in what directions. "Activation" and "flexicurity" are also initially political slogans. The comment advocates opening a discussion among scholars about what their impact has really been over the period 1997-2007, before the crisis struck, because we do not know all about it.


  • EU Law
  • national political cultures
  • EU Governance
  • solidarity
  • social protection


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