Since the end of the XVIIIth century, the disastrous consequences due to the Industrial Revolution and to "savage capitalism" on working conditions has been underlined through the rising resentment of the working class. That is why, in order to avoid social implosion and to control proletarian revolutions, European successive governments have implemented couple of laws that entitled to wage earners social rights, financial help. Those measures, in return, provided them access to consumption, to leisure. This great enhancement in social and economic rights is perfectly embodied by the French social protection's system in 1945, which was, at that time, the most efficient and the most reassuring social coverage. However, the proletarian revolution seems today warded off and European Welfare States has to cope with new difficulties, such as mass unemployment and precariousness.
[...] Indeed, four profound transitions could be accused of hampering European Welfare States and of generating much of their current turmoil: slowdown in the growth of productivity associated with a massive shift from manufacturing to service employment; the gradual expansion, maturation and “growth to limits” of governmental commitments; the demographic shift to an older population; and the restructuring of households and their relationship to the world of paid employment”. This changing world has led to large budgets deficit ( 57.6 billions francs in France). [...]
[...] All these policies promote new goals (poverty alleviation, universal access and tax funding for health care, activation) and involve new policy instruments (targeted social benefits instead of contributory benefits, financing by taxation, decision-making and management by the state, conditional employment programs, fully funded pensions). Hence, challenges seem to be taken up thanks to a change in Welfare States performance. In return, the winning back on their efficiency tends to offset the crisis of legitimacy insofar as, as Welfare States are able to fight against poverty, middle class are satisfied and stop claiming. [...]
[...] The emergence of extreme poverty cases put into question the efficiency of Welfare States In this first part, we have underlying the causes of the financing crisis of European Welfare States. Those causes are multiple: above all economic but also social and demographic. Besides budgets deficit, those evolutions question also the efficiency of European Welfare States. Indeed, new issues have raised and have to be taken into account: extreme poverty, social exclusion, long-term unemployment. However, the social insurance system set up in 1945 is not made to tackle mass unemployment. [...]
[...] However, aren't we witnessing the birth of a two-speed social protection that hampers integration structures yet weakens, all the more so as it is controversial question the State in countries where, in case of crisis, everybody is looking to it? Bibliography: BELAND, DANIEL and R. HANSEN, Reforming the French Welfare State: Solidarity, Social Exclusion and the three crisis of citizenship West European Politics p. 47-64; BONOLI, GUILIANO and Bruno PALIER, How do Welfare States change? Institutions and their impact on the politics of Welfare reform in western Europe European Review p. 333-352; B. PALIER, Beyond continuity. Institutional change in advanced political economies, [...]
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