most West European societies had rapidly falling birthrates,nwhich were attributed to the economic uncertainties ofnfamily living. Security for families, the nationalists argued,nwould restore national birthrates, building what SwedishnPrime Minister Per Albin Hansson once called “the people’snhome.”nThe welfare state constructed on these impulses did havenan identifiably traditional cast. The state took it upon itself tondefend particular patterns of dependency within the nuclearnfamily. The system of tax benefits and allowances assumednand helped to promulgate a social norm and a traditionalndivision of labor by gender. Throughout the North Atlanticnworld, the triumph of the family wage ideal meant that mostnwage income flowed into families through the father andnwas distributed to others under his authority. Women,nmeanwhile, won control of the children.nThe system reached its peak in the 1945-65 era. ThenBeveridge Plan in Great Britain, for example, aimed atnrebuilding family life through policies assuming a return ofnwomen to traditional roles. The U.S. Social Security systemnreinforced the notion of a family wage for men andnhomemaker status for women. Sweden’s Second PopulationnCommission, active in the mid-1940’s, charted out anpro-natalist program based on similar themes; and thenapproach seemed to work. During these decades, thenmodern nuclear family—monogamous, still patriarchal,nand child-centered—reached a peak in influence andnpopularity. In the United States, England, Sweden, France,nand elsewhere, the proportion of the population marriednrose to record levels; female participation in the labor forcenremained low; fertility climbed again. The communitariannwelfare state appeared to be a triumph, a wonder of effectivensocial engineering with traditionalist intent.nHowever, a second, intentionally antifamily model ofnstate welfare was already gathering force. The impulsesnbehind this new welfare state were less numerous but provednmore successful in the context of the late 20th century.nThe first impulse behind the new welfare state was anrevived liberal feminism. At the turn of the century,nCharlotte Perkins Cilman had laid out a prophetic vision ofna world where traditional family life had disappeared, wherenmen and women worked as equals in a market economy,nwith their children raised by professionals and their privatenhomes replaced by “higher forms of association.” In Sweden,nAlva Myrdal moved this vision further to the left duringnthe 1930’s, reconciling social democracy with feminism andnmoral individualism. Traditional family structures, she said,nwere irrelevant to the modern world, while the housewifenwas an antiquated parasite. Women must no longer beneconomically dependent on men; nor children on parents;nnor the elderly on their families. Universal dependence onnthe state was the only mechanism that could insure equality.nThe full cost of bearing and rearing children, she added,nmust be absorbed by the welfare state.nMyrdal’s formulation faded during the 1940’s andn1950’s, the period of family renewal under the benign sunnof the first welfare state. Liberal feminism, though, foundnnew life in the 1960’s, and its partisans soon turned theirncriticism to the inadequacies of the first welfare state. Theyndemonstrated the ways in which the existing structurenperpetuated inequality between men and women. Theynblasted the notion of a “family wage” as a cover forneconomic exploitation.nAnother and related impulse behind the new welfare statenwas a secular hunger for the labor of married women. Statenlabor planners in the West began to adapt the view, alreadynpopular in the USSR under Stalin, that full-time mothersnand homemakers were “a waste of human resources.” In thenmid-1950’s, for example, the National Manpower Counciln—with the support of the Eisenhower administration —nundertook a major study of Womanpower. The Councilnconcluded that “the weight of tradition” cramped the lifenchoices of women; that the trend toward early marriage wasnunfortunate; and that government officials must impart “thenrevolution in women’s employment” to the young.nIn Sweden, labor planners turned their hungry eyesntoward married women in the mid-1960’s. Before that time,nthe shortfall in Sweden’s native labor supply had been metnby immigrants. So long as they came from Scandinaviannneighbors, the system seemed sound. Yet the complexionsnof the immigrants were darkening by the early 1960’s:nTurks, North Africans, and Assyrians. The socialists concludednthat their wives would be a more assimilable sourcenof new labor.nFinally, the first welfare state had created a large class ofnsocial workers and bureaucrats who were eager to expandntheir sphere of influence beyond policing the manners andnmorals of the poor. State power is like a drug: the morenpower it uses, the more it wants. Indeed, the mark of thenmodern state is that it can use any movement as a vehicle fornincreasing its own power—liberal, feminist, or even conservative.nInevitably, governments began reconstructing thenwelfare state to support the autonomous individual, independentnof family status, in a regime of pure equality. Fornevery social function from the cradle to the grave, the statenwould now off^er a substitute for the family.nWhere were the advocates and presumed defenders ofnthe first, or communitarian welfare state? Social feministsnhad faded from the scene after 1940, apparent victims ofntheir own success. In a still unexplained change, the labornunions were giving up their stake in the family and gendernquestions and embracing feminist egalitarianism with astonishingneagerness. Religious defenders of the first welfarenstate increasingly succumbed to liberal feminism’s “longnmarch through the institutions.” Pro-natalists were silent,ncowed by the so-called “population bomb.” The “childnsavers” eagerly adapted to the new order, more than willingnto turn the tools of their trade—the social investigation ofnfamilies and the manipulation of children—against thenmiddle class.nTraditionalists looked in vain for help from the businessncommunity. Karl Marx always maintained that capitalistsnwould readily sacrifice family life to the quest for short-termnprofit, and the great captains of industry seldom disappointednhim. In the 1920’s, for example, the National Associationnof Manufacturers struck up an alliance with the NationalnWomen’s Party, the radical wing of the American feministnmovement. Today, they embrace state subsidized day care.nWhat have been the consequences of this new welfarenstate? First, we see the progressive eclipse of the family andnthe growing triumph of Rousseau’s radical individual. Thenprocess is far advanced in Sweden, where state tax andnnnAUGUST 1988 / 13n