European Foundations of the Welfare State

European Foundations of the Welfare State

Franz-Xaver Kaufmann
Translated from the German by John Veit-Wilson
with the assistance of Thomas Skelton-Robinson
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 406
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  • Book Info
    European Foundations of the Welfare State
    Book Description:

    While social welfare programs, often inspired by international organizations, are spreading throughout the world, the more far-reaching notion of governmental responsibility for the basic well-being of all members of a political society is not, although it remains a feature of Europe and the former British Commonwealth. The welfare state in the European sense is not simply an administrative arrangement of various measures of social protection but a political project embedded in distinct cultural traditions. Offering the first accessible account in English of the historical development of the European idea of the welfare state, this book reviews the intellectual foundations which underpinned the road towards the European welfare state, formulates some basic concepts for its understanding, and highlights the differences in the underlying structural and philosophical conditions between continental Europe and the English-speaking world.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-477-5
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. x-xi)
    Anthony B. Atkinson

    When Professor Kaufmann kindly asked me to write this foreword, he probably did not know that one of my first jobs, some fifty years ago, between school and university, was in an institution of the German welfare state: the Alsterdorfer Anstalten in Hamburg. Working as a Hilfspfleger (care assistant) did not allow much time for reading, and I learned little about the history or logic of continental welfare. Moreover, despite this unusual start for a British academic economist, my knowledge has remained deficient. It is therefore with great pleasure and benefit that I have read this collection of Professor Kaufmann’s...

  5. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. xii-xv)
    John Veit-Wilson
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvi-xviii)
  7. Introduction. A Sociological Perspective
    (pp. 1-34)

    If we want to know where to go, we have to know where we came from. Nowadays social welfare programmes are spreading throughout the world, often shaped by international organizations like the International Labour Organisation and the World Bank. However, the more far-reaching notion of a political responsibility for the basic well-being of all members of a political society, which originated in the Western idea of a welfare state, is by no means spreading worldwide but remains more or less a feature of Europe and the former British Commonwealth. The welfare state in the European sense is not simply an...

  8. Part I. Intellectual Foundations
    • Chapter 1 Pioneers of Social Reformism: Sismondi, List, Mill
      (pp. 37-57)

      The best way to ascertain the nature of a cultural tradition is to reconstruct its history. That reveals the value of talking about ‘classical authors’, those who succinctly articulated the ideas that over time became accepted as leading and influencing a subject. The discussion of classical authors necessarily involves a discourse of historical reconstruction. Only later generations can decide the classical status of texts, which they do according to the perspectives of their own time and not those of the authors. And because the perspectives of those later generations change over time, the perceived value of the classical authors may...

    • Chapter 2 German Origins of a Theory of Social Reform: Hegel, Stein and the Idea of ‘Social Policy’
      (pp. 58-74)

      The word ‘social’ first found its way into the German language in the 1830s (Geck 1963) and rapidly came into use in the 1840s, giving rise to a multiplicity of compound and associated terms. Those of particular interest here include ‘the social question’, social movement, socialism, social science, social reform, ‘the social state’ and social policy. Most of these terms arose independently of each other, but in the 1850s and 1860s they converged into a semantic field whose specific characteristic was indicated by the adjective ‘social’ (Pankoke 1970). This chapter aims to reconstruct the development of the concept and meaning...

    • Chapter 3 Christian Influences on Social Reform
      (pp. 75-93)

      The question of the significance of Christianity for the emergence of the welfare state was first posed in 1983 by the German-American sociologist Arnold Heidenheimer. In a brilliant essay, he imagined a dialogue between the great sociologist Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch, a leading theologian of liberal Protestantism in Germany.

      In reality, Weber and Troeltsch had actually undertaken a study tour together in the U.S. in 1904. Their aim was to examine the social forms of Protestant Christianity there, to which end they had developed the twin concepts of ‘church’ and ‘sect’. In the course of this tour they visited...

    • Chapter 4 Welfare Internationalism before the Welfare State: The Emergence of Human Social Rights
      (pp. 94-130)

      Cross-national comparative studies of welfare state development expose not only many similarities in institutional development but also differences for which there is so far no agreed terminology. This is not surprising, since the welfare state development has been achieved – or so it seems at first sight from the perspective of the various national histories – as a political process within the framework of the national state. Welfare state development has its unique points of departure in each country: their political arguments were inflamed by disparate problems, and earlier institutional solutions determined further advances. As a result, the social sciences nowadays refer...

  9. Part II. Theory of Social Policy
    • Chapter 5 Social Security: The Leading Idea and its Problems
      (pp. 133-145)

      ‘Social security’ denotes both a complex of public institutions to protect individuals against common life risks and the programmatic idea that a commonwealth should provide all of its members with such protection that they feel secure within that commonwealth. This concept is broader than ‘social insurance’ and narrower than ‘welfare state’, but refers to similar problems.¹

      ‘Security’ (securitasin Latin) has a long-standing tradition in political rhetoric in Europe since the Roman Empire. In early modern times it was often used together with ‘welfare’ and ‘felicity’ to summarize a prince’s duties to care for his subjects (see chapter 14). Thomas...

    • Chapter 6 Social Policy Intervention: Elements of a Sociological Theory
      (pp. 146-179)

      The conventional idea of social policy assumes that policies can achieve their objectives simply by actually spending the necessary resources. Only after the beginning of the 1960s – initially in the U.S. and then from 1969 onwards in the former West Germany – did a new understanding of policy began to assert itself, one that considers the realization of politically desirable effects as in fact representing a problem in itself. Policy was no longer conceptually constructed only in terms of action theory as the interaction of conditions, aim(s) and measure(s) but instead became understood in terms of systems theory, as a multistage...

    • Chapter 7 First-order and Second-order Social Policies
      (pp. 180-194)

      A large part of the recent literature on comparative welfare state research tries to explain the similarities and differences in institutional development in different countries from the perspective of how they came to be as they are. Thus from a functional perspective the focus is on the significance of the common challenges of industrialization and urbanization (a seminal work is Rimlinger 1971), the conflict theory view stresses analysis of political power relationships (seminally Esping-Andersen 1985), and in institutional terms the focus is on the implications of earlier social policy decisions for the further development of the system (seminally Evans, Rueschemeyer...

  10. Part III. Theory of and for the Welfare State
    • Chapter 8 The State and the Production of Welfare
      (pp. 197-224)

      This chapter outlines a theoretical perspective that takes the normative claims made for the welfare state seriously. ‘The welfare state is the institutional outcome of the assumption by a society of legal, and therefore formal and explicit, responsibility for the basic well-being of all of its members. Such a state emerges when a society or its decision-making groups become convinced that the welfare of the individual … is too important to be left to custom or to informal arrangements and private understandings, and is therefore a concern of government’ (Girvetz 1968: 512). It is thus public responsibility for the welfare...

    • Chapter 9 National Welfare State Traditions and the European Social Model
      (pp. 225-247)

      The term ‘European social model’ was first heard at the European level around 1990 and was soon in common use. The 2004 yearbook of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (Social Science Research Centre, Berlin) was entitledThe European Social Model: Towards a Trans-National Welfare State, placing the concept in the immediate context of the process of European integration (Kaelble and Schmid 2004). The term can thus have two meanings: either the features characteristic of welfare production that are common to European states, or the as-yet unrealized programmatic peculiarities of welfare production in a future European context. As propaganda, the term implies that...

    • Chapter 10 Towards a Theory of the Welfare State
      (pp. 248-274)

      The word ‘theory’ has a wide range of meanings, from trivial inductive generalization up to the highest vision of God or the universe. In any event it concerns the systematic ordering of concepts in the light of an overarching idea or a delimited field of experience. The aim of this book is to enquire into something between an overarching idea and a field of experience. What is commonly called the welfare state is both, a collective idea of the ‘good life’ and a set of institutions legitimized by concern for the welfare of the members of a political commonwealth. Though...

  11. Part IV. The Future of the Welfare State
    • Chapter 11 The Welfare State’s Achievements and Continuing Problems
      (pp. 277-299)

      This account of the welfare state’s evolution so far presents it mainly as a success story – in striking contrast to the many criticisms and fears expressed about it. These have been increasing since around 1975, roughly the time of the first oil crisis and the end of the Bretton Woods international exchange system dominated by the U.S. dollar. These last chapters examine the principal challenges facing the welfare state: not only changes in economic structure, demographic shifts, globalization and regulatory issues around the mixed economy of welfare, but also the cultural and scientific challenge of dealing with the growing complexity...

    • Chapter 12 Human Assets and Demographic Challenges to the Welfare State
      (pp. 300-315)

      The growth in the numbers and abilities of society’s newly added members is obviously a key aspect of the theoretical connection between individual and collective welfare. No social subsystem in a society founded on liberal principles can claim sole rights over its younger generation, and even family, occupational and religious traditions lose their significance. There are scarcely any specific recruitment forces, so instead all social institutions depend loosely on the abilities of the next generation and hence on the particular contributions of the family and educational systems. A society’s human assets consist of the sum of the abilities of its...

    • Chapter 13 Solidarity and Redistribution under the Pressure of International Competition
      (pp. 316-330)

      Michael Schumacher does it. And Boris Becker has done it. Countless rich people avoid the demands of the tax authorities at home by moving their tax-liable domicile abroad. Everyone knows that. But when the head of a south German milk factory announced he would move his domicile to Switzerland to avoid German inheritance tax, Federal Chancellor Schröder had had enough – he publicly accused the maker of Müller dairy products and others like him of a lack of patriotism. That released a rumble of muttering and indignant complaints.

      The many ambivalences the question raises call for sociological analysis. I shall concentrate...

    • Chapter 14 What Comes after the Classic Welfare State?
      (pp. 331-355)

      This concluding chapter was, in its original form, the introductory chapter of the final report on the responsibilities of the state (Staatsaufgaben) by an international and interdisciplinary research group of lawyers, political scientists, economists and sociologists at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) of the University of Bielefeld (Grimm 1994b). It combines traditional ideas of the state with new perspectives the group developed to understand the actual challenges faced by political systems. It supplements this volume with some basic considerations of political theory to complement the dominant sociological perspective. The second part of the chapter offers some afterthoughts to the...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 356-380)
  13. Index of Names
    (pp. 381-383)
  14. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 384-388)