Since the comfortable mixture of economic growth and welfare state expansion has come to an end the welfare state has been subjected to a crisis discussion. Its integrative capacity and its ability to compromise different class interests have been doubted. It was assumed that the higher status groups will express their anti-welfare sentiments within the political arena, whereas the welfare beneficiaries of the lower status sections of the society might be the defenders of the welfare state. In this regard, it was widely assumed that people will support social institutions if they derive benefits from them. The beneficial involvement of social groups was seen as the crucial factor for the public standing of the welfare institutions. Special attention was given to the middle classes: The idea here is that if the middle classes benefit from programs, then they will not use their not inconsiderable political skills to obtain more resources for those programs or to defend them in periods of decline (Goodin/LeGrand, 1987). This essay sets out a comparative frame which charts the attitudinal stances towards the welfare state in Great Britain and Germany...
[...] For the comparison of the United Kingdom and Germany one might draw on Titmuss (1974) “models of social policy” and Esping-Andersens (1990) “worlds of welfare capitalism”. Within Titmuss' frame, the UK represents the “residual welfare model” with a limited function of state welfare, whereas Germany can be characterised as an “industrial achievement model” where the policy is constructed in close relationship with the employment status. Esping-Andersen's welfare regimes cluster the different models in a similar vein. By taking up and fleshing out the Marschallian (1963) proposition that social citizenship constitutes the core idea of the welfare state Esping-Anderson looks at the way in which social rights and entitlements are granted. [...]
[...] III) Institutional design and social integration This systematisation of welfare regimes is very telling for the political and moral economy of the welfare state. It does not only address the institutional features which generate rational support for the welfare state, it also includes the normative and ideational connotations of the institutions. From this perspective, one can derive some insights of how the welfare regimes ensure their popular acceptance, and how the interests of different groups are integrated and tied together. [...]
[...] The German model suffers from a substantial East-West divide in terms of welfare dependency and welfare support. While the East Germans overwhelmingly demand and approve welfare state intervention, is the West German public more reluctant to call for further expansion. A ‘status quo mentality' has become the dominant attitude of a saturated and content majority, but there is also some signs for a readiness to accept cuts in benefits. These are signs of a modest and sector-specific “demand flexibility” (Roller, 1999) due to a growing realism about what the welfare state can afford. [...]
[...] For Britain it was suggested that the welfare state architecture might forward class cleavages between different social groups because of the residual character of the welfare policies (Esping-Andersen 1990, Taylor-Gooby 1991). The stratificatory effect of the system is twofold with blend of relatively equality of poverty among state welfare recipients, market differentiated welfare among the majorities, and a class- political dualism between the two.” (Esping-Andersen 1990). Because Britain lacks the strong link between earnings status and benefit entitlements, the social insurance contributions are perceived as another tax rather than as genuine insurance. [...]
[...] Offe, C Smooth Consolidation in the West German Welfare State: Structural Change, Fiscal Policies, and Populist Politics. In F. Fox Piven (ed.) Labour Parties in Postindustrial Societies, p.124-146. Parry, R United Kingdom. In P. Flora (ed.) Growth to Limits. Vol. Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, p. 155-240. For reasons of measurement Esping-Andersen (1990) introduces a de- commodification score capturing old age pensions, sickness benefits and unemployment insurance, their replacement rates and requirement qualifications. Offe (1991) examines the employment-centered nature of the German security system. [...]
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