The “State of Social Welfare” (English, Welfare State ), is a state perspective to the social and economic field, in which the distribution of income for the population, as well as the provision of basic public services, is seen as a way to combat social inequalities.
Therefore, from this point of view, the state is the agent that promotes and organizes social and economic life, providing individuals with essential goods and services throughout their lives.
Indeed, this model of public management is typical of social-democratic systems in modern Western societies, and its best examples today can be found in the public policies of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.
Key Features: Summary
The main feature of the welfare state is the defense of citizens’ rights to health, education, etc .; despite this, the best known model of public policy is Keynesian, John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), which breaks with the free-market view in favor of state intervention in the economy.
Indeed, this system was adopted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930s as part of his economic recovery program, the New Deal, which, in addition to major works, raised wages and set product prices.
It is common in Welfare State countries to nationalize companies (especially in strategic sectors), as well as to create mechanisms to promote free and quality public services such as water and sewage, housing, labor benefits, education, health. , transportation and leisure for the whole population.
To this end, the state needs to interfere with the economy, regulating it in order to generate employment and income, while stimulating production. As a result, working hours are at most 8 hours, child labor is prohibited and workers are entitled to unemployment insurance and Social Security.
Causes of Social Welfare State
The main cause that precipitated the implementation of welfare states around the world was the crisis of Liberalism, the model that preached market freedom in relation to the state. It was therefore a response to the crisis of the early twentieth century, of which World War I and the 1929 economic depression (1929 Crisis ) were a symptom.
However, these public policies were also a retaliation for labor movements and Soviet socialism, which rivaled the Capitalist model during the Cold War. Not surprisingly, it was necessary to demonstrate which model provided a better quality of life for its citizens.
During the 1920s, the United States was an economy favored and overheated by Europe under restructuring. By the 1930s, however, European countries had recovered from World War I , which led the US economy to collapse into overproduction.
For this reason, President Roosevelt launched, in 1933, the United States’ economic recovery program, the New Deal, which consisted primarily of massive investment in public works, destruction of agricultural stocks and shortened working hours.
Finally, in the 1970s, the exhaustion of this model became evident to the point that Margaret Thatcher, the head of state of England, admitted that the state no longer had the economic conditions to fund the welfare state, beginning the neoliberal era in the west.