Welfare state

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A welfare state is a state which , in its actions, strives for social security and social justice as state goals in order to ensure the participation of all in social and political developments. The specific totality of state institutions, control measures and norms is also characteristic in order to achieve the goal of cushioning life risks and social consequences. The state undertakes to ensure social equilibrium in society in legislation and administration .

The concrete shaping of the welfare state takes place in social policy .

On the terms welfare state and welfare state

The concept of the welfare state, which is mainly used in political and legal discussions, is often used to describe and delimit the German social order from the supply or welfare state based on the Scandinavian model. From an international comparative perspective, however, preference is given in the social sciences to the concept of the welfare state, borrowed from English. According to Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, these are “different national variants of the same type of overall social development” (Kaufmann 1997: 21). In contrast to the German term, "welfare state" refers more to the "totality of welfare institutions" and not just to "an element of the constitutional determination of the state".

Frequently encountered self-descriptions of the welfare state, which are used to distinguish, emphasize differences in the target definition of the welfare state compared to the welfare state. The welfare state pursues the goal of helping people, especially in emergencies that are not caused by their own fault, and, moreover, to prevent these emergencies through long-term measures ( subsidiarity ), while the welfare state takes more far-reaching measures to increase the social, material and cultural well-being of its citizens.

History of the welfare state

In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, there were isolated attempts on the part of the state to alleviate the material hardship of its citizens or subjects. The idea behind this has always been to prevent unrest and uprisings and to ensure political stability.

The origins of the modern concept of the welfare state also go back to such considerations. The welfare state developed in the 19th century as a result of the industrial revolution and the mass impoverishment of large sections of the population. It is based on the knowledge that property is the basis for exercising rights and that freedom remains insubstantial if its exercise is not guaranteed by property. Government redistribution should provide the poor and the weak with elementary basic security.

Social action, however, was always at the same time a regulatory policy aimed at maintaining social peace. For example, the pension, health and accident insurances introduced in Germany under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the 1880s were intended to prevent the growing population of industrial workers from revolutionary endeavors. Protection for the severely disabled was introduced after the First World War in 1919, unemployment insurance at the time of the economic boom in 1927 after the experience of the inflationary period, and long-term care insurance in 1995 to relieve the burden on state budgets due to the percentage increase in the elderly population groups.

Since the Second World War , the welfare state benefits in almost all Western European countries have been expanded beyond basic social security.

See also


Overall representations

Background of the history of ideas

German Empire and Weimar Republic

National Socialism

  • Götz Aly : Hitler's People's State. Robbery, Race War and National Socialism. 2nd Edition. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-596-15863-X .
  • Timothy W. Mason: Social Policy in the Third Reich. Working class and national community. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1977, ISBN 3-531-11364-X .

Federal Republic of Germany

Developments and tendencies from 1990

  • Jens Borchert: The Conservative Transformation of the Welfare State: Great Britain, Canada, the USA and Germany in Comparison. Campus, Frankfurt a. Main / New York 1995, ISBN 3-593-35394-6 .
  • Jürgen Borchert : Sozialstaatsdämmerung , Riemann Verlag, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-570-50160-3 .
  • Christoph Butterwegge , Rudolf Hickel a . a .: Welfare state and neoliberal hegemony. From locational nationalism to the dissolution of democracy. Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-88520-718-4 .
  • Christoph Butterwegge: Crisis and future of the welfare state . VS – Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, 2005, ISBN 3-8100-4138-6 .
  • Franz-Xaver Kaufmann : Challenges of the welfare state . Frankfurt a. M. 1997, ISBN 3-518-12053-0 .
  • Franz-Xaver Kaufmann: Variants of the welfare state. The German welfare state in international comparison , Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-518-12301-7 .
  • Franz-Xaver Kaufmann: social policy and welfare state . Sociological Analysis. Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14347-6 .
  • Stephan Lessenich , Ilona Ostner (ed.): Worlds of welfare capitalism. The welfare state in a comparative perspective . Campus, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-593-35966-9 .
  • Steffen Mehnert: Change in the understanding of the welfare state. The chain breaks at the weakest link . AV AkademikerVerlag, Saarbrücken 2012, ISBN 978-3-639-39844-1 .
  • Frank Pilz: The welfare state. Expansion - controversies - remodeling . Series of publications Volume 452. Federal Agency for Civic Education , Bonn 2004.
  • Ulrich Schneider : More people! Against the economization of the social , Frankfurt / M. 2014
  • Michael Spieker (ed.): The welfare state. Foundations and reform discourses (= Tutzinger Studies on Politics. Vol. 4). Baden-Baden 2012, ISBN 978-3-8329-7215-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Welfare state  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Frank Nullmeier: Concise dictionary of the political system of the Federal Republic of the Federal Agency for Civic Education
  2. Kaufmann 2003, p. 34
  3. ^ Norbert Hinske : Kant's Warning of the Welfare State The New Order, Volume 58 No. 6, December 2004.
  4. Cf. Wolfgang Ayaß : Social Democratic Workers' Movement and Social Insurance up to the Turn of the Century , in: Ulrich Becker / Hans Günter Hockerts / Klaus Tenfelde (eds.), Sozialstaat Deutschland. Past and present , Bonn 2010, pp. 17–43.
  5. On the emergence of Bismarck's social insurance cf. Collection of sources on the history of German social policy from 1867 to 1914 , Section I: From the time when the Reich was founded to the Imperial Social Message (1867–1881), Volumes 2, 5 and 6; Collection of sources on the history of German social policy from 1867 to 1914, section II: From the Imperial Social Message to the February decrees of Wilhelm II (1881–1890), Volume 2, Part 1 u. 2; Volume 5 u. 6th