Looking at the definition quoted by G.Esping-Andersden, the Welfare State seems to be a really simple thing: it involves state responsibility for securing some basic modicum of welfare for citizens. However, the welfare state corresponds to numerous realities across the world. The welfare state developed first in Europe. Indeed, in the 19th century Europe was the economic and political leader in the world. European countries were modern states which had to diffuse their model of nation-state providing public education, health and social security to citizens, through the whole world and mainly beside the United States. The model that these states promoted was not unique at that time even if it had some common origins.
The modern Welfare State knew its take-off in the late 19th century. More precisely while Italy and Germany were unifying. In Europe, the 19th century was the one of industrialism, mass democracy; culmination of the European nation-state, population and economic growth, and therefore the first development of social insurance in Europe was a real success.
[...] First those institutional variations among welfare states come from varying experiences and results of state formation, nation- building and evolution of mass democracy. Second that there was a different timing in the creation of institutions which organize today's welfare systems. Therefore, they are not at the same point in their evolution. Finally, Rokkan assert that such institutional variations date back to period prior to World War therefore at the beginning of the conception of Welfare States. According to Peter Flora, these original differences which have appeared during the welfare state formation are at the basis of their actual underlying differences. [...]
[...] From * the nations which have a powerful liberalist legacy and which are different depending on the structuration of political power: highly de- commodifying social democratic welfare states regimes ( Norway, Denmark); low or moderate de-commodification ( Canada, United States). So, stratification and de-commodification potential of welfare systems are two elements that Esping-Andersden uses to differentiate welfare states. From then on, he constructs his typology of welfare regimes G. Esping-Andersen's typology of Welfare regimes Finally, Esping Andersen announces his typology of welfare regimes across Europe, responding to four questions: Which beneficiaries? [...]
[...] Conclusion So, as a conclusion, one can say that European welfare states have been firstly developed in a common context of mass democracy extended in the nation-state. It was an answer to problems caused by industrialization and the weakening of family links. However, at the very beginning of the welfare state's history the different structures of European societies have introduced first sources of diversity in welfare system models. Gosta Esping-Andersden' s categorization of welfare system models have been criticized but seems to keep its status of major theory in terms of social protection science nowadays. [...]
[...] In the 20th century, the German government had to create a separate insurance for white collar employees and today, the welfare system is corporatist instead of uniform. On the other hand, the case of England shows that having 90% of the labor force dependant blue collar workers or white collar employees gave the government the means to create a uniform national welfare system. Secondly, Esping-Andersden quotes the class-mobilization's theory. According to it, welfare state strengthens labor movements since it mobilizes wage earners who struggle for social rights, which would “push back the frontier of capitalist power”(Heinmann). [...]
[...] Nevertheless, it seems still that the liberal welfare state has been an essential element in the reconciliation between capitalism and democracy since its development has been closely linked to both of them The role played by the European Nation-State. In fact it seems that beyond the role played by these previous elements, the structuration of European states was fundamental in the establishment of welfare systems. Solutions which were found to face social problems were finalized thanks to the state centralization and the means of correction it benefited from. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee