Welfare in an Idle Society?: Reinventing Retirement, Work, Wealth, Health and Welfare

1st Edition

Bernd Marin

Published June 26, 2013
Reference - 702 Pages
ISBN 9781472416971 - CAT# Y252422

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The modern welfare state is indeed one of the greatest achievements of the post-war 20th century. With its key aims of eradicating the five giant social ills of Want, Ignorance, Disease, Squalor and Idleness, it aimed to providing a minimum standard of living, with all people of working age paying a weekly contribution; in return, benefits would be paid to anyone who was sick, unemployed, retired or widowed. The modern welfare state, therefore, is about maintaining a delicate equilibrium between dependent social groups on the one hand and the active working classes on the other. In the case of old-age security, this balance is being achieved (or not) by the so-called Generation Contract. This social pact is more of an implicit, unwritten and unspecified social contract. This ground-breaking book demonstrates how countries are addressing population-ageing challenges in depth, using the case study of Austria to gain the required complexity and differentiation in a comparative European framework of empirical evidence. This is a broad social science study in political economy and sociology, not an economic analysis. Though focusing on pensions, it centres on the (im)balance between work and non-work, issues of health, work ability, employability, and benefit receipt from old-age security to disability allowance. It will be required reading for all sociologists and social policy experts and academics working within this area.


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