The welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for citizens unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The sociologist T. H. Marshall described the modern welfare state as a distinctive combination of democracy, welfare, and capitalism.
The first welfare state has its origins in legislation passed by Otto von Bismarck during the 1880s to extend Junker priveleges as a strategy to make ordinary Germans more loyal to the throne against the then modernist movements of classical liberalism and socialism..
Modern welfare states include Germany and France, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the Nordic countries, which employ a system known as the Nordic model. The various implementations of the welfare state fall into three categories: (i) social democratic, (ii) conservative, and (iii) liberal.[a]
The German term sozialstaat ("social state") has been used since 1870 to describe state support programs devised by German sozialpolitiker ("social politicians") and implemented as part of Bismarck's conservative reforms. In Germany, the term wohlfahrtsstaat, a direct translation of the English "welfare state", is used to describe Sweden's social insurance arrangements.
The literal English equivalent "social state" did not catch on in Anglophone countries. However, during the Second World War, Anglican Archbishop William Temple, author of the book Christianity and the Social Order (1942), popularized the concept using the phrase "welfare state." Bishop Temple's use of "welfare state" has been connected to Benjamin Disraeli's 1845 novel Sybil: or the Two Nations (in other words, the rich and the poor), where he writes "power has only one duty — to secure the social welfare of the PEOPLE". At the time he wrote Sybil, Disraeli (later a prime minister) belonged to Young England, a conservative group of youthful Tories who disagreed with how the Whig dealt with the conditions of the industrial poor. Members of Young England attempted to garner support among the privileged classes to assist the less fortunate and to recognize the dignity of labor that they imagined had characterized England during the Feudal Middle Ages.
The Swedish welfare state is called folkhemmet ("the people's home") and goes back to the 1936 compromise, as well as another important contract made in 1938, between Swedish trade unions and large corporations. Even though the country is often rated comparably economically free, Sweden's mixed economy remains heavily influenced by the legal framework and continual renegotiations of union contracts, a government-directed and municipality-administered system of social security, and a system of universal health care that is run by the more specialized and in theory more politically isolated county councils of Sweden.
The Italian term stato sociale ("social state") and the Turkish term sosyal devlet reproduces the original German term. In French, the concept is expressed as l'État-providence. Spanish and many other languages employ an analogous term: estado del bienestar – literally, "state of well-being". In Portuguese, two similar phrases exist: estado de bem-estar social, which means "state of social well-being", and estado de providência – "providing state", denoting the state's mission to ensure the basic well-being of the citizenry. In Brazil, the concept is referred to as previdência social, or "social providence".
Modern welfare programs are chiefly distinguished from earlier forms of poverty relief by their universal, comprehensive character. The institution of social insurance in Germany under Bismarck was an influential example. Some schemes were based largely in the development of autonomous, mutualist provision of benefits. Others were founded on state provision. In a highly influential essay, "Citizenship and Social Class" (1949), British sociologist T. H. Marshall identified modern welfare states as a distinctive combination of democracy, welfare, and capitalism, arguing that citizenship must encompass access to social, as well as to political and civil rights. Examples of such states are Germany, all of the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, France, Uruguay and New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the 1930s. Since that time, the term welfare state applies only to states where social rights are accompanied by civil and political rights.
Changed attitudes in reaction to the worldwide Great Depression, which brought unemployment and misery to millions, were instrumental in the move to the welfare state in many countries. During the Great Depression, the welfare state was seen as a "middle way" between the extremes of communism on the left and unregulated laissez-faire capitalism on the right. In the period following World War II, countries in Western Europe moved from partial or selective provision of social services to relatively comprehensive "cradle-to-grave" coverage of the population.
The activities of present-day welfare states extend to the provision of both cash welfare benefits (such as old-age pensions or unemployment benefits) and in-kind welfare services (such as health or childcare services). Through these provisions, welfare states can affect the distribution of wellbeing and personal autonomy among their citizens, as well as influencing how their citizens consume and how they spend their time.
Emperor Ashoka of India put forward his idea of a welfare state in the 3rd century BCE. He envisioned his dharma (religion or path) as not just a collection of high-sounding phrases. He consciously tried to adopt it as a matter of state policy; he declared that "all men and my children" and "whatever exertion I make, I strive only to discharge debt that I owe to all living creatures." It was a totally new ideal of kingship. Ashoka renounced war and conquest by violence and forbade the killing of many animals. Since he wanted to conquer the world through love and faith, he sent many missions to propagate Dharma. Such missions were sent to places like Egypt, Greece, and Sri Lanka. The propagation of Dharma included many measures of people's welfare. Centers of the treatment of men and beasts founded inside and outside of empire. Shady groves, wells, orchards and rest houses were laid out. Ashoka also prohibited useless sacrifices and certain forms of gatherings which led to waste, indiscipline and superstition. To implement these policies he recruited a new cadre of officers called Dharmamahamattas. Part of this group's duties was to see that people of various sects were treated fairly. They were especially asked to look after the welfare of prisoners.
The concepts of welfare and pension were introduced in early Islamic law as forms of Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century. This practice continued well into the Abbasid era of the Caliphate. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to stockpile food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred. The Caliphate can thus be considered the world's first major welfare state.
Historian Robert Paxton observes that on the European continent the provisions of the welfare state were originally enacted by conservatives in the late nineteenth century and by fascists in the twentieth in order to distract workers from unions and socialism, and were opposed by leftists and radicals. He recalls that the German welfare state was set up in the 1880s by Chancellor Bismarck, who had just closed 45 newspapers and passed laws banning the German Socialist Party and other meetings by trade unionists and socialists.[b] A similar version was set up by Count Eduard von Taaffe in the Austro-Hungarian Empire a few years later. Legislation to help the working class in Austria emerged from Catholic conservatives. They turned to social reform by using Swiss and German models and intervening in state economic matters. They studied the Swiss Factory Act of 1877 that limited working hours for everyone, and gave maternity benefits, and German laws that insured workers against industrial risks inherent in the workplace. These served as the basis for Austria's 1885 Trade Code Amendment.
"All the modern twentieth-century European dictatorships of the right, both fascist and authoritarian, were welfare states", Paxton writes. "They all provided medical care, pensions, affordable housing, and mass transport as a matter of course, in order to maintain productivity, national unity, and social peace."
Continental European Marxists opposed piecemeal welfare measures as likely to dilute worker militancy without changing anything fundamental about the distribution of wealth and power. It was only after World War II, when they abandoned Marxism (in 1959 in West Germany, for example), that continental European socialist parties and unions fully accepted the welfare state as their ultimate goal.
Prior to 1900 in Australia, charitable assistance from benevolent societies, sometimes with financial contributions from the authorities, was the primary means of relief for people not able to support themselves. The 1890s economic depression and the rise of the trade unions and the Labor parties during this period led to a movement for welfare reform.
In 1900, the states of New South Wales and Victoria enacted legislation introducing non-contributory pensions for those aged 65 and over. Queensland legislated a similar system in 1907 before the federal labor government led by Andrew Fisher introduced a national aged pension under the Invalid and Old-Aged Pensions Act 1908. A national invalid disability pension was started in 1910, and a national maternity allowance was introduced in 1912.
During the Second World War, Australia under a labor government created a welfare state by enacting national schemes for: child endowment in 1941; a widows' pension in 1942; a wife’s allowance in 1943; additional allowances for the children of pensioners in 1943; and unemployment, sickness, and special benefits in 1945.
After 1830 in France Liberalism and economic modernization were key goals. While liberalism was individualistic and laissez-faire in Britain and the United States, in France liberalism was based instead on a solidaristic conception of society, following the theme of the French Revolution, Liberté, égalité, fraternité ("liberty, equality, fraternity"). In the Third Republic, especially between 1895 and 1914 “Solidarité” ["solidarism"] was the guiding concept of a liberal social policy, whose chief champions were the prime ministers Leon Bourgeois (1895-96) and Pierre Waldeck-Rousseau (1899-1902). The French welfare state expanded when it tried to followed some of Bismarck's policies. Poor relief was the starting point. More attention was paid to industrial labour in the 1930s during a short period of socialist political ascendency, with the Matignon Accords and the reforms of the Popular Front. Paxton points out these reforms were paralleled and even exceeded by measures taken by the Vichy regime in the 1940s.
Otto von Bismarck, the powerful Chancellor of Germany (in office 1871–90), developed the first modern welfare state by building on a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that had begun as early as in the 1840s. The measures that Bismarck introduced – old-age pensions, accident insurance, and employee health insurance – formed the basis of the modern European welfare state. His paternalistic programs aimed to forestall social unrest and to undercut the appeal of the Social Democratic Party, and to secure the support of the working classes for the German Empire, as well as to reduce emigration to the United States, where wages were higher but welfare did not exist. Bismarck further won the support of both industry and skilled workers through his high-tariff policies, which protected profits and wages from American competition, although they alienated the liberal intellectuals who wanted free trade. During the 12 years of Hitler’s Third Reich, the National Socialists expanded and extended the welfare state to the point where over 17 million German citizens were receiving assistance under the auspices of the National Socialist People's Welfare (NSV) by 1939, an agency that had projected a powerful image of caring and support.
In Britain, the foundations for the welfare state originated with the Liberal Party under prime minister H. H. Asquith and Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George. British liberals supported a capitalist economy and in the nineteenth-century had principally been concerned with issues of free trade (see classical liberalism), but by the turn of the twentieth century they shifted away from laissez faire economics and began to favor pro-active social legislation to assure equal opportunity for all citizens (and to counteract the appeal of the Labour Party). In this they were directly inspired by the signal success of the German economy under Bismarck's top-down social reforms.
Welfare states in Latin America have been considered as 'welfare states in transition' or 'emerging welfare states'. Mesa-Lago has classified the countries taking into account the historical experience of their welfare systems. The pioneers were Uruguay, Chile and Argentina, as they started to develop the first welfare programs in the 1920s following a bismarckian model. Other countries such as Costa Rica developed a more universal welfare system (1960s–1970s) with social security programs based on the Beveridge model. Researchers such as Martinez-Franzoni  and Barba-Solano  have examined and identified several welfare regime models based on the typology of Esping-Andersen. Other scholars such as Riesco and Cruz-Martinez  have examined the welfare state development in the region.
According to Alex Segura-Ubiergo:
Latin American countries can be unequivocally divided into two groups depending on their 'welfare effort' levels. The first group, which for convenience we may call welfare states, includes Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Within this group, average social spending per capita in the 1973–2000 period was around $532, while as a percentage of GDP and as a share of the budget, social spending reached 51.6 and 12.6 percent, respectively. In addition, between approximately 50 and 75 percent of the population is covered by the public health and pension social security system. In contrast, the second group of countries, which we call non-welfare states, has welfare-effort indices that range from 37 to 88. Within this second group, social spending per capita averaged $96.6, while social spending as a percentage of GDP and as a percentage of the budget averaged 5.2 and 34.7 percent, respectively. In terms of the percentage of the population actually covered, the percentage of the active population covered under some social security scheme does not even reach 10 percent.
The Nordic welfare model refers to the welfare policies of the Nordic countries, which also tie into their labor market policies. The Nordic model of welfare is distinguished from other types of welfare states by its emphasis on maximizing labor force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, the large magnitude of income redistribution and liberal use of expansionary fiscal policy.
While there are differences among the Nordic countries, they all share a broad commitment to social cohesion, a universal nature of welfare provision in order to safeguard individualism by providing protection for vulnerable individuals and groups in society and maximizing public participation in social decision-making. It is characterized by flexibility and openness to innovation in the provision of welfare. The Nordic welfare systems are mainly funded through taxation.
China traditionally relied on the extended family to provide welfare services. The one-child policy introduced in 1978 has made that unrealistic, and new models have emerged since the 1980s as China has rapidly become richer and more urban. Much discussion is underway regarding China's proposed path toward a welfare state. Chinese policies have been incremental and fragmented in terms of social insurance, privatization, and targeting. In the cities, where the rapid economic development has centered, lines of cleavage, have developed between state-sector and non-state-sector employees and between labor-market insiders and outsiders.
Historian Derek Fraser tells the British story in a nutshell:
The modern welfare state in Great Britain began operations with the Liberal welfare reforms of 1906–1914 under Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith. These included the passing of the Old-Age Pensions Act in 1908, the introduction of free school meals in 1909, the 1909 Labour Exchanges Act, the Development Act 1909, which heralded greater Government intervention in economic development, and the enacting of the National Insurance Act 1911 setting up a national insurance contribution for unemployment and health benefits from work.
The minimum wage was introduced in Great Britain in 1909 for certain low-wage industries and expanded to numerous industries, including farm labour, by 1920. However, by the 1920s, a new perspective was offered by reformers to emphasize the usefulness of family allowance targeted at low-income families was the alternative to relieving poverty without distorting the labour market. The trade unions and the Labour Party adopted this view. In 1945, family allowances were introduced; minimum wages faded from view. Talk resumed in the 1970s, but in the 1980s the Thatcher administration made it clear it would not accept a national minimum wage. Finally, with the return of Labour, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 set a minimum of ₤3.60 per hour, with lower rates for younger workers. It largely affected workers in high turnover service industries such as fast food restaurants, and members of ethnic minorities.
December 1942 saw the publication of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, commonly known as the Beveridge Report after its chairman, Sir William Beveridge. The Beveridge Report proposed a series of measures to aid those who were in need of help, or in poverty and recommended that the government find ways of tackling what the report called "the five giants": Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness. It urged the government to take steps to provide citizens with adequate income, adequate health care, adequate education, adequate housing, and adequate employment, proposing that "All people of working age should pay a weekly National Insurance contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired, or widowed."
The Beveridge Report assumed that:
The report stressed the lower costs and efficiency of universal benefits. Beveridge cited miners' pension schemes as examples of some of the most efficient available and argued that a universal state scheme would be cheaper than a myriad of individual friendly societies and private insurance schemes and also less expensive to administer than a means-tested government-run welfare system for the poor.
The Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, and then the Labour Party all adopted the Beveridge Report's recommendations. Following the Labour election victory in the 1945 general election many of Beveridge's reforms were implemented through a series of Acts of Parliament. On 5 July 1948, the National Insurance Act, National Assistance Act and National Health Service Act came into force, forming the key planks of the modern UK welfare state. In 1949, the Legal Aid and Advice Act was passed, providing the "fourth pillar" of the modern welfare state, access to advice for legal redress for all.
Before 1939, most health care had to be paid for through non-government organisations – through a vast network of friendly societies, trade unions, and other insurance companies, which counted the vast majority of the UK working population as members. These organizations provided insurance for sickness, unemployment, and disability, providing an income to people when they were unable to work. As part of the reforms, the Church of England also closed down its voluntary relief networks and passed the ownership of thousands of church schools, hospitals and other bodies to the state.
Welfare systems continued to develop over the following decades. By the end of the 20th century parts of the welfare system had been restructured, with some provision channelled through non-governmental organizations which became important providers of social services.
The United States developed a limited welfare state in the 1930s. The earliest and most comprehensive philosophical justification for the welfare state was produced by an American, the sociologist Lester Frank Ward (1841–1913), whom the historian Henry Steele Commager called "the father of the modern welfare state".
Ward saw social phenomena as amenable to human control. "It is only through the artificial control of natural phenomena that science is made to minister to human needs" he wrote, "and if social laws are really analogous to physical laws, there is no reason why social science should not receive practical application such as have been given to physical science." Ward wrote:
The charge of paternalism is chiefly made by the class that enjoys the largest share of government protection. Those who denounce it are those who most frequently and successfully invoke it. Nothing is more obvious today than the single inability of capital and private enterprise to take care of themselves unaided by the state; and while they are incessantly denouncing "paternalism," by which they mean the claim of the defenseless laborer and artisan to a share in this lavish state protection, they are all the while besieging legislatures for relief from their own incompetency, and "pleading the baby act" through a trained body of lawyers and lobbyists. The dispensing of national pap to this class should rather be called "maternalism," to which a square, open, and dignified paternalism would be infinitely preferable. 
Ward's theories centred around his belief that a universal and comprehensive system of education was necessary if a democratic government was to function successfully. His writings profoundly influenced younger generations of progressive thinkers such as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey, and Frances Perkins (1880–1965), among others.
The United States was the only industrialized country that went into the Great Depression of the 1930s with no social insurance policies in place. In 1935 Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal instituted significant social insurance policies. In 1938 Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, limiting the work week to 40 hours and banning child labor for children under 16, over stiff congressional opposition from the low-wage South.
The Social Security law was very unpopular among many groups – especially farmers, who resented the additional taxes and feared they would never be made good. They lobbied hard for exclusion. Furthermore, the Treasury realized how difficult it would be to set up payroll deduction plans for farmers, for housekeepers who employed maids, and for non-profit groups; therefore they were excluded. State employees were excluded for constitutional reasons (the federal government in the United States cannot tax state governments). Federal employees were also excluded.
By 2013, the U.S. remained the only major industrial state without a uniform national sickness program. American spending on health care (as percent of GDP) is the highest in the world, but it is a complex mix of federal, state, philanthropic, employer and individual funding. The US spent 16% of its GDP on health care in 2008, compared to 11% in France in second place.
Some scholars, such as Gerard Friedman, argue that labor-union weakness in the Southern United States undermined unionization and social reform throughout the United States as a whole, and is largely responsible for the anaemic U.S. welfare state. Sociologists Loïc Wacquant and John L. Campbell contend that since the rise of neoliberal ideology in the late 1970s and early 1980s, an expanding carceral state, or government system of mass incarceration, has largely supplanted the increasingly retrenched social welfare state, which has been justified by its proponents with the argument that the citizenry must take on personal responsibility. Scholars assert that this transformation of the welfare state to a post-welfare punitive state, along with neoliberal structural adjustment policies and the globalization of the U.S. economy, have created more extreme forms of "destitute poverty" in the U.S. which must be contained and controlled by expanding the criminal justice system into every aspect of the lives of the poor.
Broadly speaking, welfare states are either universal – with provisions that cover everybody, or selective – with provisions covering only those deemed most needy. In his 1990 book, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Danish sociologist Gøsta Esping-Andersen further identified three subtypes of welfare state models. Though increasingly criticised, these classifications are still used as a starting point in analysis of modern welfare states[c] and remain a fundamental heuristic tool for welfare state scholars. Even for those who claim that in-depth analysis of a single case is more suited to capture the complexity of different social policy arrangements, welfare typologies can provide a comparative lens that can help to place single cases in perspective.:598
Esping-Andersen's welfare classification acknowledges the historical role of three dominant twentieth-century Western European and American political movements: Social Democracy (socialism), Christian Democracy (conservatism); and Liberalism.
Based on the decommodification index, Esping-Andersen divided 18 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries into the following groups:
Since the building of the decommodification index is limited and the typology is debatable, these 18 countries could be ranked from most purely social-democratic (Sweden) to the most liberal (the United States).:597 Ireland represents a near-hybrid model whereby two streams of unemployment benefit exist: contributory and means-tested. However, payments can begin immediately and are theoretically available to all Irish citizens even if they have never worked, provided they are habitually resident.
Swedish professor of political science Bo Rothstein points out that in non-universal welfare states, the state is primarily concerned with directing resources to "the people most in need". This requires tight bureaucratic control in order to determine who is eligible for assistance and who is not. Under universal models such as Sweden, on the other hand, the state distributes welfare to all people who fulfill easily established criteria (e.g. having children, receiving medical treatment, etc.) with as little bureaucratic interference as possible. This, however, requires higher taxation due to the scale of services provided. This model was constructed by the Scandinavian ministers Karl Kristian Steincke and Gustav Möller in the 1930s and is dominant in Scandinavia.
Sociologist Lane Kenworthy argues that the Nordic experience demonstrates that the modern social democratic model can "promote economic security, expand opportunity, and ensure rising living standards for all ... while facilitating freedom, flexibility and market dynamism."
Finally, scholars have also proposed to classify welfare regimes using 'outcomes', such as inequalities, poverty rates, response to different social risks, rather than simply focusing on institutional configurations.
American political scientist Benjamin Radcliff has also argued that the universality and generosity of the welfare state (i.e. the extent of decommodification) is the single most important societal-level structural factor affecting the quality of human life, based on the analysis of time serial data across both the industrial democracies and the American States. He maintains that the welfare state improves life for everyone, regardless of social class (as do similar institutions, such as pro-worker labor market regulations and strong labor unions).[d]
|Country||Absolute poverty rate (1960–1991)
(threshold set at 40% of U.S. median household income)
|Relative poverty rate (1970–1997)|
Researchers have found very little correlation between economic performance and social expenditure. They also see little evidence that social expenditures contribute to losses in productivity; economist Peter Lindert of the University of California, Davis attributes this to policy innovations such as the implementation of "pro-growth" tax policies in real-world welfare states.
Nor have social expenses contributed significantly to public debt.
According to the OECD, social expenditures in its 34 member countries rose steadily between 1980 and 2007, but the increase in costs was almost completely offset by GDP growth. More money was spent on welfare because more money circulated in the economy and because government revenues increased. In 1980, the OECD averaged social expenditures equal to 16 percent of GDP. In 2007, just before the financial crisis kicked into full gear, they had risen to 19 percent – a manageable increase.
A Norwegian study covering the period 1980 to 2003 found welfare state spending correlated negatively with student achievement. However, many of the top-ranking OECD countries on the 2009 PISA tests are considered welfare states.
(% of GDP)
|Year||GDP per capita
|Actual amount of social expenditure|
Early conservatives, under the influence of Thomas Malthus, opposed every form of social insurance "root and branch". They argued, according to economist Brad DeLong, that it would "make the poor richer, and they would become more fertile. As a result, farm sizes would drop (as land was divided among ever more children), labor productivity would fall, and the poor would become even poorer. Social insurance was not just pointless; it was counterproductive." Malthus, a clergyman for whom birth control was anathema, believed that the poor needed to learn the hard way to practice frugality, self-control and chastity. Traditional conservatives also protested that the effect of social insurance would be to weaken private charity and loosen traditional social bonds of family, friends, religious and non-governmental welfare organisations.
On the other hand, Karl Marx opposed piecemeal reforms advanced by middle-class reformers out of a sense of duty. In his Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, written after the failed revolution of 1848, he warned that measures designed to increase wages, improve working conditions and provide social insurance were merely bribes that would temporarily make the situation of working classes tolerable to weaken the revolutionary consciousness that was needed to achieve a socialist economy.[e] Nevertheless, Marx also proclaimed that the Communists had to support the bourgeoisie wherever it acted as a revolutionary progressive class because "bourgeois liberties had first to be conquered and then criticised".
In the 20th century, opponents of the welfare state have expressed apprehension about the creation of a large, possibly self-interested, bureaucracy required to administer it and the tax burden on the wealthier citizens that this entailed.
Political historian Alan Ryan points out that the modern welfare state stops short of being an "advance in the direction of socialism.... its egalitarian elements are more minimal than either its defenders or its critics think". It does not entail advocacy for social ownership of industry. The modern welfare state, Ryan writes, does not set out
to make the poor richer and the rich poorer, which is a central element in socialism, but to help people to provide for themselves in sickness while they enjoy good health, to put money aside to cover unemployment while they are in work, and to have adults provide for the education of their own and other people's children, expecting those children's future taxes to pay in due course for the pensions of their parents’ generation. These are devices for shifting income across different stages in life, not for shifting income across classes. Another distinct difference is that social insurance does not aim to transform work and working relations; employers and employees pay taxes at a level they would not have done in the nineteenth century, but owners are not expropriated, profits are not illegitimate, cooperativism does not replace hierarchical management.
Historian Walter Scheidel has commented that the establishment of welfare states in the West in the early 20th century could be partly a reaction by elites to the Bolshevik Revolution and its violence against the bourgeoisie, which feared violent revolution in its own backyard. They were diminished decades later as the perceived threat receded:
It's a little tricky because the US never really had any strong leftist movement. But if you look at Europe, after 1917 people were really scared about communism in all the Western European countries. You have all these poor people, they might rise up and kill us and take our stuff. That wasn't just a fantasy because it was happening next door. And that, we can show, did trigger steps in the direction of having more welfare programs and a rudimentary safety net in response to fear of communism. Not that they [the communists] would invade, but that there would be homegrown movements of this sort. American populism is a little different because it's more detached from that. But it happens roughly at the same time, and people in America are worried about communism, too – not necessarily very reasonably. But that was always in the background. And people have only begun to study systematically to what extent the threat, real or imagined, of this type of radical regime really influenced policy changes in Western democracies. You don't necessarily even have to go out and kill rich people – if there was some plausible alternative out there, it would arguably have an impact on policy making at home. That's certainly there in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. And there's a debate, right, because it becomes clear that the Soviet Union is really not in very good shape, and people don't really like to be there, and all these movements lost their appeal. That's a contributing factor, arguably, that the end of the Cold War coincides roughly with the time when inequality really starts going up again, because elites are much more relaxed about the possibility of credible alternatives or threats being out there.
Transfer of wealth:
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The Beveridge Report, officially entitled Social Insurance and Allied Services, is a government report, published in November 1942, influential in the founding of the welfare state in the United Kingdom. It was drafted by the Liberal economist William Beveridge, who proposed widespread reforms to the system of social welfare to address what he identified as five "Giant Evils" in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease. Published in the midst of World War II, the report promised rewards for everyone's sacrifices. Overwhelmingly popular with the public, it formed the basis for the post-war reforms known as the Welfare State, which include the expansion of National Insurance and the creation of the National Health Service.European social model
The European social model is a common vision many European states have for a society that combines economic growth with high living standards and good working conditions. Historian Tony Judt has argued that the European social model "binds Europe together" in contrast to the 'American way of life'.European states do not all use a single social model, but welfare states in Europe do share several broad characteristics. These generally include a commitment to full employment, social protections for all citizens, social inclusion, and democracy. Examples common among European countries include universal health care, free higher education, strong labor protections and regulations, and generous welfare programs in areas such as unemployment insurance, retirement pensions, and public housing. The Treaty of the European Community set out several social objectives: "promotion of employment, improved living and working conditions ... proper social protection, dialogue between management and labour, the development of human resources with a view to lasting high employment and the combating of exclusion." Because different European states focus on different aspects of the model, it has been argued that there are four distinct social models in Europe: the Nordic, British, Mediterranean and the Continental.The general outlines of a European social model emerged during the post-war boom. Tony Judt lists a number of causes: the abandonment of protectionism, the baby boom, cheap energy, and a desire to catch up with living standards enjoyed in the United States. The European social model also enjoyed a low degree of external competition as the Soviet bloc, China and India were not yet integrated into the global economy. In recent years, it has become common to question whether the European social model is sustainable in the face of low birthrates, globalisation, Europeanisation and an ageing population.Government of Colombia
The Government of Colombia
is a republic with separation of powers into executive, judicial and legislative branches.
Its legislature has a congress,
its judiciary has a supreme court, and
its executive branch has a president.The citizens of Colombia cast votes concerning their government, and they employ a public sector office for an inspector general to oversee the public interface of the government. This safeguards the public, and guarantees the human rights spelled out in the Constitution of 1991, which provides the framework for a welfare state and a unitary republic.
Colombia has "control institutions" that mix government and public officials, who work alongside one another. For example, the public's inspector general works closely with the government's controller general, whose job it is to ensure governmental fiscal responsibility. An independent Ombudsman deals with maladministration complaints and functions asGunnar Myrdal
Karl Gunnar Myrdal (Swedish: [ˈmyːɖɑːl]; 6 December 1898 – 17 May 1987) was a Swedish economist and sociologist. In 1974, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Friedrich Hayek for "their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena." He is best known in the United States for his study of race relations, which culminated in his book An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. The study was influential in the 1954 landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision Brown v. Board of Education. In Sweden his work and political influence were important to the establishment of the Folkhemmet and the welfare state.Italian welfare state
The Italian welfare state is based upon the corporatist-conservative model, as described by Gøsta Esping-Andersen, one of the world's foremost sociologists working on the analysis of welfare states.Mixed economy
A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of market economies with elements of planned economies, free markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. There is no single definition of a mixed economy, but rather two major definitions. The first of these definitions refers to a mixture of markets with state interventionism, referring to capitalist market economies with strong regulatory oversight, interventionist policies and governmental provision of public services. The second definition is apolitical in nature and strictly refers to an economy containing a mixture of private enterprise with public enterprise.In most cases, and particularly with reference to Western economies, the term "mixed economy" refers to a capitalist economy characterized by the predominance of private ownership of the means of production with profit-seeking enterprise and the accumulation of capital as its fundamental driving force. In such a system, markets are subject to varying degrees of regulatory control and governments wield indirect macroeconomic influence through fiscal and monetary policies with a view to counteracting capitalism's history of boom/bust cycles, unemployment and income disparities. In this framework, varying degrees of public utilities and essential services operate under public ownership and state activity is often limited to providing public goods and universal civic requirements - such as healthcare, physical infrastructure and management of public lands.In reference to post-war Western and Northern European economic models as championed by Christian democrats and social democrats, the mixed economy is a form of capitalism where most industries are privately owned with only a small number of public utilities and essential services under public ownership. In the post-war era, European social democracy became associated with this economic model. As an economic ideal, mixed economies are supported by people of various political persuasions, typically centre-left and centre-right, such as social democrats or Christian democrats.National Assistance Act 1948
The National Assistance Act 1948 is an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom by the Labour government of Clement Attlee. It formally abolished the Poor Law system that had existed since the reign of Elizabeth I, and established a social safety net for those who did not pay National insurance contributions (such as the homeless, the physically handicapped, and unmarried mothers) and were therefore left uncovered by the National Insurance Act 1946 and the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946. It also provided help to elderly Britons who required supplementary benefits to make a subsistence living, and obliged local authorities to provide suitable accommodation for those who through infirmity, age, or any other reason were in need of care and attention not otherwise available. The legislation also empowered local authorities to grant financial aid to organizations of volunteers concerned with the provision of recreational facilities or meals.The National Assistance Board, which administered the National Assistance scheme, operated scale rates which were more generous than in the past. The rate for a married couple before the new service was launched, for instance, was 31 shillings (£1.55) a week, and 40 shillings (£2.00) a week when the new service was introduced, together with an allowance for rent. In addition, as noted by Denis Nowell Pritt, "In most cases where the applicant was a householder, the rent allowance was the actual rent paid."Under Section 29 of the Act, the power was granted to local authorities to promote the welfare of physically handicapped individuals. The social needs of the mentally handicapped were to be the responsibility of mental health departments which, being part of the new National Health Service, were to provide its services to all those needed it, regardless of ability to pay.Nordic model
The Nordic model refers to the economic and social policies common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands,Sweden) and Åland). This includes a comprehensive welfare state and collective bargaining at the national level with a high percentage of the workforce unionized while being based on the economic foundations of free market capitalism. The Nordic model began to earn attention after World War II.The Scandinavian countries were all monarchies, with Finland and Iceland becoming republics in the 20th century. Currently, the Nordic countries have been described as being highly democratic. Although there are significant differences among the Nordic countries, they all share some common traits. These include support for a universalist welfare state aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy and promoting social mobility; a corporatist system involving a tripartite arrangement where representatives of labor and employers negotiate wages and labor market policy mediated by the government; and a commitment to private ownership (with some caveats), a mixed economy and free trade.Each of the Nordic countries has its own economic and social models, sometimes with large differences from its neighbours.Post-war consensus
The post-war consensus is a historian's model of political co-operation in post-war British political history, from the end of World War II in 1945 to the late-1970s, and its repudiation by Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher. Majorities in both parties agreed upon it. The consensus tolerated or encouraged nationalisation, strong trade unions, heavy regulation, high taxes, and a generous welfare state.The concept states that there was a widespread consensus that covered support for coherent package of policies that were developed in the 1930s and promised during the Second World War, focused on a mixed economy, Keynesianism, and a broad welfare state. In recent years, the timing of the interpretation has been debated by historians, asking whether it had weakened and collapsed before Thatcherism arrived in 1979. There has also been debate as to whether a "postwar consensus" ever really existed.Social market economy
The social market economy (SOME; German: soziale Marktwirtschaft), also called Rhine capitalism, is a socioeconomic model combining a free market capitalist economic system alongside social policies that establish both fair competition within the market and a welfare state. It is sometimes classified as a coordinated market economy. The social market economy was originally promoted and implemented in West Germany by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1949. Its origins can be traced to the interwar Freiburg school of economic thought.The social market economy was designed to be a third way between laissez-faire economic liberalism and socialist economics. It was strongly inspired by ordoliberalism, social democratic ideas and the political ideology of Christian democracy, or more generally the tradition of Christian ethics. The social market economy refrains from attempts to plan and guide production, the workforce, or sales, but it does support planned efforts to influence the economy through the organic means of a comprehensive economic policy coupled with flexible adaptation to market studies. Combining monetary, credit, trade, tax, customs, investment and social policies as well as other measures, this type of economic policy aims to create an economy that serves the welfare and needs of the entire population, thereby fulfilling its ultimate goal.The "social" segment is often wrongly confused with socialism and democratic socialism and although aspects were inspired by the latter the social market approach rejects the socialist ideas of replacing private property and markets with social ownership and economic planning. The "social" element to the model instead refers to support for the provision of equal opportunity and protection of those unable to enter the free market labor force because of old-age, disability, or unemployment.Some authors use the term "social capitalism" with roughly the same meaning as social market economy. It is also called "Rhine capitalism", typically when contrasting it with the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. Rather than see it as an antithesis, some authors describe Rhine capitalism as a successful synthesis of the Anglo-American model with social democracy. The German model is also contrasted and compared with other economic models, some of which are also described as "third ways" or regional forms of capitalism, including Tony Blair's Third Way, French dirigisme, the Dutch polder model, the Nordic model, Japanese corporate capitalism and the contemporary Chinese model. A 2012 comparative politics textbook distinguishes between the "conservative-corporatist welfare state" (arising from the German social market economy) and the "labor-led social democratic welfare state". The concept of the model has since been expanded upon into the idea of an eco-social market economy as not only taking into account the social responsibility of humanity, but also the sustainable use and protection of natural resources.Social policy
Social policy is policy usually within a governmental or political setting, such as the welfare state and study of social services.Social policy consists of guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare, such as a person's quality of life. The Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics defines social policy as "an interdisciplinary and applied subject concerned with the analysis of societies' responses to social need", which seeks to foster in its students a capacity to understand theory and evidence drawn from a wide range of social science disciplines, including economics, sociology, psychology, geography, history, law, philosophy and political science. The Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard University describes social policy as "public policy and practice in the areas of health care, human services, criminal justice, inequality, education, and labor". Social policy might also be described as actions that affect the well-being of members of a society through shaping the distribution of and access to goods and resources in that society. Social policy often deals with wicked problems.The discussion of "social policy" in the United States and Canada can also apply to governmental policy on social issues such as tackling racism, LGBT issues (such as same-sex marriage) and the legal status of abortion, guns, euthanasia, recreational drugs and prostitution.Social programs in the United States
Social programs in the United States are welfare subsidies designed to meet needs of the American population. Federal and state welfare programs include cash assistance, healthcare and medical provisions, food assistance, housing subsidies, energy and utilities subsidies, education and childcare assistance, and subsidies and assistance for other basic services. Private provisions from employers, either mandated by policy or voluntary, also provide similar social welfare benefits.
The programs vary in eligibility requirements and are provided by various organizations on a federal, state, local and private level. They help to provide food, shelter, education, healthcare and money to U.S. citizens through primary and secondary education, subsidies of college education, unemployment disability insurance, subsidies for eligible low-wage workers, subsidies for housing, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, pensions for eligible persons and health insurance programs that cover public employees. The Social Security system is sometimes considered to be a social aid program and has some characteristics of such programs, but unlike these programs, social security was designed as a self-funded security blanket—so that as the payee pays in (during working years), they are pre-paying for the payments they'll receive back out of the system when they are no longer working. Medicare is another prominent program, among other healthcare provisions such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.Stockholm school (economics)
The Stockholm School (Swedish: Stockholmsskolan), is a school of economic thought. It refers to a loosely organized group of Swedish economists that worked together, in Stockholm, Sweden primarily in the 1930s.
The Stockholm School had—like John Maynard Keynes—come to the same conclusions in macroeconomics and the theories of demand and supply. Like Keynes, they were inspired by the works of Knut Wicksell, a Swedish economist active in the early years of the twentieth century.
William Barber’s comment upon Gunnar Myrdal´s work on monetary theory goes like this:
“If his contribution had been available to readers of English before 1936, it is interesting to speculate whether the ‘revolution’ in macroeconomic theory of the depression decade would be referred to as ‘Myrdalian’ as much as ‘Keynesian’”The Mammaries of the Welfare State
The Mammaries of the Welfare State is an English-language Indian novel, the sequel to Upamanyu Chatterjee’s debut novel, English, August. It won the Sahitya Akademi Award (English) in 2004.
The novel brought its author the 2004 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.Welfare
Welfare is a type of government support for the citizens of that society. Welfare may be provided to people of any income level, as with social security (and is then often called a social safety net), but it is usually intended to ensure that the poor can meet their basic human needs such as food and shelter. Welfare attempts to provide poor people with a minimal level of well-being, usually either a free- or a subsidized-supply of certain goods and social services, such as healthcare, education, and vocational training.A welfare state is a political system wherein the State assumes responsibility for the health, education, and welfare of society. The system of social security in a welfare state provides social services, such as universal medical care, unemployment insurance for workers, financial aid, free post-secondary education for students, subsidized public housing, and pensions (sickness, incapacity, old-age), etc. In 1952, with the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (nr. 102), the International Labour Organization (ILO) formally defined the social contingencies covered by social security.
The first welfare state was Imperial Germany (1871–1918), where the Bismarck government introduced social security in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, Great Britain introduced social security around 1913, and adopted the welfare state with the National Insurance Act 1946, during the Attlee government (1945–51). In the countries of western Europe, Scandinavia, and Australasia (New Zealand), the national government provides social welfare that is paid from the national tax revenues, and by non-government organizations (NGOs), and charities (social and religious).Welfare capitalism
Welfare capitalism is capitalism that includes social welfare policies. Welfare capitalism is also the practice of businesses providing welfare services to their employees. Welfare capitalism in this second sense, or industrial paternalism, was centered on industries that employed skilled labor and peaked in the mid-20th century.
Today, welfare capitalism is most often associated with the models of capitalism found in Central Mainland and Northern Europe, such as the Nordic model, social market economy and Rhine capitalism. In some cases welfare capitalism exists within a mixed economy, but welfare states can and do exist independently of policies common to mixed economies such as state interventionism and extensive regulation.Welfare in Sweden
Social welfare in Sweden is made up of several organizations and systems dealing with welfare. It is mostly funded by taxes, and executed by the public sector on all levels of government as well as private organizations. It can be separated into three parts falling under three different ministries. Social welfare is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research. The labour market is the responsibility of the Ministry of Employment.Welfare reform
Welfare reforms are changes in the operation of a given welfare system, with the goals of reducing the number of individuals dependent on government assistance, keeping the welfare systems affordable, and assisting recipients become self-sufficient. Classical liberals, libertarians, and conservatives generally argue that welfare and other tax-funded services reduce incentives to work, exacerbate the free-rider problem, and intensify poverty. Socialists, on the other hand, generally criticize welfare reform because it usually minimizes the public safety net, and strengthens the capitalist economic system. Welfare reform is constantly debated because of the varying opinions on the government's determined balance of providing guaranteed welfare benefits, and promoting self-sufficiency.Welfare state in the United Kingdom
The welfare state of the United Kingdom comprises expenditures by the government of the United Kingdom intended to improve health, education, employment and social security. The UK system has been classified as a liberal welfare state system. The UK has among the largest populations in Europe, being third in the EU after Germany and France.