In English literature, there’s a concept that’s known as a welfare-state. Similarly, it’s translated as sozialsaat in Germany. The concept is commonly translated as “protective state’, and “concerned state”, but these descriptions can’t express satisfactory explanations, so let’s dig deeper to find out the comprehensive understanding of the welfare state.
Definition of welfare-state is generally understood as the state which operates to fulfill well-being of its citizens by promoting social and economic stability and growth.
In today’s modern society, Scandinavian countries such as Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark have become the great examples of the countries that practice a welfare-state at its peak. These countries are often referred as mixed economy countries because they provide healthcare, education, and individual care services from its treasury fund. Of course, the fund is collected from taxpayers. Furthermore, the USA, which is the heritage of democracy and human rights, and even the Cuba, which has a planned economy dominated by state-run enterprises, are also included in the lists of countries which practice mixed economy. They run state policies in order to reduce gap between lower and upper-classes, and their main income sources of mixed economy come from income taxes that are collected from high-income individuals.
A Danish sociologist, Gosta Esping-Andersen, explicated welfare states into three main types which are social-democratic, Christian-democratic, and liberal. The social-democratic countries provide welfare services based on citizenship. For instance, Brunei, Qatar, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates provides the welfare services only for its citizens, but the foreigners and non-citizens aren’t covered. Scandinavian countries are also included in the social-democratic countries.
On the other hand, Christian-democratic countries use their social insurance or decentralization system to provide the welfare services. Austria, Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and some European countries are categorized as the Christian-democratic countries. Let’s consider Austria’s welfare state. Austria’s welfare state takes into account any member of society who holds responsibility for establishing and maintaining the social system, and Austria’s government concentrates on supporting these individual’s well-being, health, unemployment, and retirement.
The liberal countries intend to improve their free market economies; therefore, their main welfare-state policies focus on supporting poverty reduction and basic needs of citizens. Australia, Japan, the USA, and Canada can be included in the list of the liberal countries.
However, a welfare-state plays a big role on determining types of governments such as democratic, communist, dictatorship, or fascism depending on how welfare-states are being executed.
Back in the centrally planned economy era welfare-state policies were poorly developed, and citizens worshipped the governments due to lack of transparency on the welfare-state as the governments were deceiving their roles into thinking they were the ideological states. Due to taxpayers’ money were spent on something that was not wanted by the citizens during the centrally planned economy era, the citizens were discouraged to work and study for their personal advancements, and individual development was stopped.
Modern researchers agree that governments should predetermine its welfare-state policies to admire its citizens’ values and missions. Perhaps, the welfare-state should aim to give individuals an opportunity to realize their missions and values in the same manner with Scandinavian countries’ education systems. These countries provide primary, secondary, and post-secondary education with no tuition fees. Moreover, their welfare-state policies continue to provide lifelong education after post-secondary education such as developing self-determination, and recognizing one’s own responsibilities and self-governing. These types of welfare-state policies are alternatively known as “hidden welfare state” because the governments implement its welfare-state policies by choosing a sector that don’t directly, or indirectly cause pressure on economy, and not interfering a free-market economy. In short, countries which implement the welfare-state policies for the right people at the right time and place are considered to be the countries with welfare-states.
In the conclusion, a welfare-state could be understood as a country that aims to provide welfare services for well-being of all members of society. It’s time for Mongolian government to avoid from imprudent welfare-state policies, and focus on implementing welfare-state policies that could trigger well-being of its citizens, and next generations.
According to the constitution of Mongolia, “The State shall be responsible to the citizens for the creation of economic, social, legal and other guarantees for ensuring human rights and freedoms, to fight against violation of human rights and freedoms and to restore of infringed rights”. If this article and a concept of welfare-state could be effectively applied, the mission of the Constitution, “aspiring toward the supreme objective of building a human, civil, and democratic society in our homeland” will prove to be true.