Accepted paper:

The free market bureaucracy: neoliberalism, mutuality and healthcare in The Netherlands


Erik Bähre (Universiteit Leiden)

Paper short abstract:

Dutch neoliberal government policy introduced the personal budget with which long-term ill and handicapped people could purchase care on the market. This paper examines the experiences, moralities and ideologies of the personal budget.

Paper long abstract:

In the 1980s the dutch government introduced the Persoonsgebonden Budget (PGB). The expectation was that long-term ill and handicapped people would receive cash with which they could by care on the market. The neoliberal assumptions and the associated practices as experienced by those that were entitled to these budget will be presented in this paper. The paper examines the expectations of the dutch government regarding the market and mutual help, the way in which the recipients of the budget deal with the moral and practical dimensions of mutualities and markets, as well as the way in which people are confronted in sometimes complex bureaucratic procedures. This paper introduces the concept of the 'free market bureaucracy' to understand this relationship. The paper is based on a study carried out with Diny van Est of the Netherlands Court of Audit.

panel P36
Engagement and disengagement in crisis: anthropology as a mutualist concern