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Welfare Office in Huntington Beach, CA

          One of the main driving forces in the formation of states is the idea that all citizens have the right to a minimum standard of living.  Many governments have addressed this right by guaranteeing their citizens a minimum standard of welfare “from cradle to grave.”  This welfare state system has historically been seen as a permanent solution to the difficulties and contradictions of capitalist systems.  However, recent years have witnessed a decline in the welfare state.  Prior to the rise of multinational corporations and organizations, states have been seen as the only institutions with the resources and organization capable of producing widespread, deliberate socioeconomic changes.  This globalization has lessened the importance of the state in assuring a standard of welfare for every individual.  Therefore, these provisions are often no longer central to government strategies and survival.  This shift in focus has caused many governments to reduce public services in the last two decades.

         The provision of welfare for all American citizens was once heralded through the construction of grand offices and imposing structures, advertising the government’s willingness and ability to provide welfare to all of its citizens.  In slide number two we see a modern government welfare office in Huntington Beach.  Small, ‘functional,’ and architecturally basic, this office is merely another ‘business’ in a busy commercial industrial park.  Hence, the decline in the importance of the welfare state can clearly be seen in the comparative decline of grandiose welfare offices throughout the nation.