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Abstract: Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, especially in U.K., several programs had passed to help and assist the poor workers through a redistributive mechanism managed by the State. We call these programs Welfare State and they still represent one of the main achievements of modern society. In the hypothesis of a degrowth society on one hand it would be difficult finding resources to sustain them but, on the other hand, the positive social and communitarian externalities resulted from less hours spent at work or in exploiting material resources due to consumistic behaviours could be used to create a different kind of Welfare programs. In this work we are going to discuss the economic and political implications behind the transition from capitalist to degrowth society, highlighting the problems of this radical institutional change occurring after decades of material growing economies, of technological progress, of demographic expansion and population aging.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.