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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2000): Welfare State - Overseas

GLOBALISATION, UNIFICATION AND THE GERMAN WELFARE STATE

B. H. Schulz

International Social Sciences Journal, no. 163, 2000, p. 34-50

Article argues that globalisation threatens the ability of states to continue providing for the economic and social security of their citizens. The German Sozialstaat predates the development of modern welfare states and is therefor firmly anchored in the political culture of the country. Nevertheless high unemployment, the costs of unification and concern over global economic competitiveness are taking their toll on the ability of Germany's government to continue funding social welfare schemes. Unification, in particular, has added enormously to public expenditure, while self-sustaining economic development is not in sight.

A GREAT LEAP TOWARDS LIBERALISM? THE HUNGARIAN WELFARE STATE?

O. Lelkes

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 9, 2000, p. 92-102

Article examines three major policy areas: pensions, social assistance and family allowances. This analysis gives an indication of the character of the Hungarian welfare regime. There has been an observable move from a "socialist" pre-transitional regime towards a "liberal" one, but this movement does not yet show a definite end point. Government has moved to replace the current pay-as-you-go state pension system with a three-pillar scheme, but the effects of this will not be felt until the second decade of the 21st century. Family allowances remain universal, but are exposed to the changing political preferences of various governments. The role of means-tested poor relief is relatively small in the Hungarian welfare state, and it is reinforced by the poverty relief effect of universal family support transfers.

TIME AND POVERTY IN WESTERN WELFARE STATES: UNITED GERMANY IN PERSPECTIVE

L. Leisering and S. Leibfried

Cambridge: CUP, 1999

Authors formulate a life course model to act as theoretical framework for understanding the interaction between social policy and individual behaviour on poverty. Argue that education, social security and provision for old age are social policies that are developed to diminish undesirable risks along an individuals life course. Poverty is not a fixed condition or a personal or group characteristic, but is rather an experience or stage in the life course. People experience different risks of poverty during their life course: some are more controllable (eg short term poverty after divorce) than others (eg lack of employment prospects in depressed areas).

TWO ROUTES TO SAFEGUARD THE HEALTH OF NATIONS

N. Timmins

Financial Times, May 8th 2000, p. 23

While the US government is committed to defending the universal state pension, New Labour promises to improve the quality of state provided health care and education.

THE VIABILITY OF ADVANCE WELFARE STATES IN THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY: VULNERABILITIES AND OPTIONS

F. W. Scharpf

Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 7, 2000, p. 190-228

Articles represents a preliminary and partial analysis of information collected in a comparative project on the adjustment of employment and social policies in twelve advanced capitalist welfare states to economic globalisation since the early 1970s. In the 1990s the international integration of product and capital markets has been constraining private sector employment as well as the financial viability of the welfare state. Institutional differences among different types of revenue systems, welfare states and employment systems (Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon and Continental) create important differences in vulnerability that can no longer be met by standardised responses. Article concludes with an examination of the specific problems faced by, and the solutions available to, the countries included in the study.

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