The Future of the Social State by Christoph Butterwegge

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"The extended family as a kind of "self-help group" replaces the social state in the backward-oriented utopia of liberal-conservatism. Nothing hurts families more than the "rebuilding" or dismantling of the social state and the marketing of interpersonal relations justified with the keywords "globalization" and "location protection."

[This article published in: Ossietzky 20/2011 is translated from the German on the Internet, . Christoph Butterwegge teaches political science at the University of Koln. His latest book "The Future of the Social State" appeared in its 4th edition in October 2011. Professor Butterwegge is also the author of "Migrants and the Mass Media."]

For decades, the social state founded by Reich chancellor Otto von Bismarck was a model imitated by other states and praised by the people in Germany. This changed in the course of the 1974-75 worldwide economic crisis when neoliberalism promoted to a social philosophy from an economic theory gained public opinion hegemony even in Germany. Since then the Bismarck social state was stubbornly "rebuilt" or reduced under changing government majorities and with different accents.

According to what principles is this happening? What will be the form of the future social state? Whether its decline over decades continues or a reorganization triumphs (perhaps through a solidarity universal health care) depends on the overall social conditions, socio-economic developments, the political hierarchy of power and parliamentary majorities which are changeable and c cannot be predicted exactly."


to read Christoph Butterwegge's "The Future of the Social State," click on

demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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