Mittwoch, 5. Oktober 2011

Welfare State - III: The Welfare State - Its Intended Consequences

The arguments in this paper do under no circumstances question the positive human intentions and motivations underlying the evolution of the Welfare State (or rather: the Welfare-State-Mentality). Believers in Christian faith could (and probably would) argue that the Welfare State is the assertion of Christian commandments: Support the weak! Reign-in the strong! Provide for general well-being of all!

The Welfare State tends to blossom where the ‘basic rules of a society’ are not perceived to honor the principles of supporting the weak, reigning-in the strong, and providing for general well-being of all as prominent themes of everyday-life. The origin of the Welfare State is not the proposition to provide for the dream of a better world. Instead, the origin of the Welfare State is the disappointment that the dream of a better world might never materialize unless its achievement is organized.

If the Welfare State blossoms in societies where the above noble principles are not sufficiently respected, why, then, is the Welfare-State-Mentality not widely spread in the United States? In the country, where many Europeans believe that the law of the jungle still rules? Where the strong are the heroes and the weak are the outcasts? Where there is little by way of social protection to provide for the general well-being of all?

The answer lies in the degree of social awareness and social responsibility that is part of the society’s basic rules. The American culture may well respect the principles of supporting the weak, reigning-in the strong and providing well-being for all in no lesser degree than a good European Welfare State. However, the American culture may propose that there is more than one road to happiness and that the organized and programmed system of Social Welfare is perhaps not the most efficient way to achieve desired results. That, however, does not necessarily mean that the results are viewed any less desirable and as long as that kind of social awareness and social responsibility is felt, a Welfare-State-Mentality is unlikely to blossom. Again, a Welfare-State-Mentality is not necessarily a noble proposition per se. Instead, it could be viewed as an admission of social defeat, as the admission that Social Welfare will only materialize if it is organized by the state.

Still, the Welfare State - as it is being commented here - is the result of some form of social consciousness of a society, of a shared belief that a reasonable equilibrium of well-being is the basic foundation for the lasting success of a society. From that standpoint, the original intentions of the Welfare State are absolutely honorable and noble! This is not what the debate should be about. What the debate should be about is to what extent the actual consequences of the Welfare State correspond to its original intentions.

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