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The Austrian Welfare State Essay

1516 words - 6 pages

THE AUSTRIAN WELFARE STATE PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT3
The Austrian Welfare StateAbstractThis paper gives a brief insight into the Austrian welfare state. Rooted in the late 19th century the Austrian welfare state developed various social programs for the wellbeing of its citizens like for example: free education, insurances or family allowances. Taking a closer look at the historical development as well as the current situation, some challenges for the future (e.g. pension system, health insurance, forms of employment) can be stated. This paper also discusses the main arguments for and against a welfare state.Keywords: welfare state, Austria, aging society, future challengesThe Austrian Welfare StateAll over the world various forms of welfare states exist, each unique with their own pro's and con's. Before talking about Austria there should be clarified what a welfare state in general is.According to BusinessDictionary.com a welfare state is:… a political system based on the premise that the government (and not the individual, corporations, or the local community) has the responsibility for the wellbeing of its citizens, by ensuring that a minimum standard of living is within everyone's reach. This commitment is translated into provision of universal and free education, universal medical care, insurance against disability, sickness, and unemployment, family allowances for income supplement, and old age pensions.But textbook definitions aren't always what the average person thinks of when talking about a welfare state. An IT student of Johannes Kepler University for example answered the question "How would you define a welfare state?" as followed:A welfare state is a state where the government takes care of the citizens by passing laws that force employers to insure their employees (e.g. health- or unemployment insurance),financially supporting people who otherwise would have to live below the poverty line, financially supporting education (e.g. by scholarships) ...In short, it's a state where the government tries to make it possible for all their citizens to live without the fear of starving or dying because medical treatment would be too expensive and support and finance education as good as possible.Historical BackgroundAustria is a conservative and traditional welfare state and was founded as a catholic nation. Austrian policies are reflected by this religious affiliation.But we have to start at the beginning in history.Since the late nineteeth century Austria developed many social programs to protect industrial workers, white collar workers and state officials against the risks of accident at work, illness, unemployment and old age.During the age of great economic crisis in the 1930s, these programs were hard to maintain. After this time unemployment shrinked and the so called "golden age" of the welfare state began. It started after WW II at 1955 when the Allgemeine Sozialversicherungsgesetz (ASVG) was put into force and ended with...

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