Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term welfare state is strongly associated with socioeconomic policies adopted in advanced capitalist economies particularly after 1945, which rested on the conviction that societies can be shaped by conscious policies designed by state institutions to eliminate abuses resulting from the market process within a capitalist economy. Nevertheless, both the idea and various welfare practices existed before the postwar period. The oldest of these traces back to social insurance programs in Germany in the 1880s. While the French government set up similar pension plans in 1910, the British government introduced a national insurance system, old-age pensions, and health and compulsory unemployment insurance systems in 1911, and the Swedes initiated the first compulsory and universal pension system in 1913. The only national program in the United States was the old-age insurance program initiated by the Social Security Act in 1935, leaving implementation of other welfare plans to individual states. However, these ...