What damage is being done by failing welfare states? What lessons can be learned from the best welfare states? And—is it too late to stop welfare states from permanently diminishing the lives and liberties of people around the world? Traveling around the globe, James Bartholomew examines welfare models, searching for the best education, health care, and support services in 11 vastly different countries; illuminating the advantages and disadvantages of other nations' welfare states; and delving into crucial issues such as literacy, poverty, and inequality. This is a hard-hitting and provocative contribution to understanding how welfare states, as the defining form of government today, are changing the very nature of modern civilization.