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The Welfare State and Modern Sovereignty
The Welfare State and Modern Sovereignty

Author(s): Jakub Jinek
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Social Sciences
Published by: Mezinárodní politologický ústav Masarykovy univerzity v Brně
Keywords: welfare state; sovereign state; Bismarck; Beveridge; social policy

Summary/Abstract: The paper analyses the current position of the welfare state and how it is reflected in the recent literature. It criticizes contributions that try to advocate the welfare state as a hallmark of European civilization, as they lack the proper analytical method to do so. It proposes an original approach that reveals a structural analogy that exists between the welfare state and the modern sovereign state. In a short historical survey, it demonstrates that during the process of its formation, the modern state gained structural elements that on one hand created a foundation for its later transformation into the welfare state, but on the other hand became a source of deep distrust. As this distrust also influenced the development of the post-war welfare system, the entire project eventually became vulnerable to ideological criticism. The paper shows that today’s condemnations of the welfare state for its alleged non-affordability are but an echo of an older ideological – populist and liberal – distrust of the state itself. Finally, the paper attempts to argue in favour of both the modern sovereign state and the welfare state by developing an argument for their de facto existence and usefulness and showing the fundamental fallacy of the counter-arguments of its critics.

  • Issue Year: XXV/2018
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 206-226
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English