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Is it fair to suggest that the German state is a 'frozen landscape - Essay Example

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The German State: No More a Frozen Landscape Bismarck’s Welfare State has been founded on the concept that the state needs to look after the German citizens and provide them facilities such as “minimum wage and workplace” and other benefits including healthcare, pension, vacation and unemployment insurance so that they will perceive the state as a “social institution” that exists to safeguard their interest (Ebeling, 2007, p.4)…
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Is it fair to suggest that the German state is a frozen landscape
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"Is it fair to suggest that the German state is a 'frozen landscape"

Download file to see previous pages Criticising the trend of confining welfare state to the element of social spending, he contends that the social expenditures are “epiphenomenal to the theoretical substance” of welfare states (p.19). Thus, he denotes the inflexibility of continental welfare state system and refers to it as a “frozen continental landscape” deriving from the “frozen Fordism” existing in countries Germany, Italy and France and concludes that the situation favours a “status quo” in these countries (Palier and Martin, 2007, p.538). However, Scharpf and Schmidt (2000), as quoted in Palier and Martin (2007), challenges this notion and contends that social insurance based welfare systems “face the biggest difficulties” among welfare states (p.538). Therefore, to accommodate the changes in economy, the welfare state system of Germany has evolved to align with the transition and it may not be fair anymore to call it “a frozen landscape.” Palier and Martin (2007) contend that the Bismarckian welfare system has initially been unable to cope with the problems due to the rigidness of “their own tradition” while the other welfare regimes have done so by adapting to the changes through the implementation of various structural reforms (p.358). However, they concede to the fact that with some reforms introduced after the year 2000, the Bismarckian system has been able to incorporate drastic changes within their system, which may account for the emergence out of the frozen landscape. In the modern day of complex economy, states cannot focus too much on social welfare, ignoring other aspects that deserve better attention. Quoting Therborn (1983), Esping-Anderson (1990) argues that if one considers the historical changes in the activities of the states, it appears that only when countries invest the majority of its resources for “servicing the welfare needs of households” they can be called welfare states (p.20). But, it has transpires from historical evidence that countries usually spend a greater part of their funds on “defence” and “administration” than on social welfare and, therefore, no state can be called a welfare state (p.20). Therefore, it appears that Germany’s continued existence as a Bismarckian welfare state has become impractical, forcing them to adapt to the changing environment. The country, over a period of time, has hence been evolving various strategies and changing their rigid stance on welfare orientation, incorporating various changes in their systems. Gosta Esping-Anderson again finds a possible failure of the welfare states to stand up to the “edifice of social protection” which remained “frozen” due to socio-economic pressures of the past and the system became incompatible to the emerging economic conditions and needs (Esping-Anderson, 1996, p.2). Developing nations such as the US and UK have prospered in the twentieth century by their focus on developing technology rather than investing on social welfare schemes. However, it becomes evident from the examples of these countries that when aspects such as technology is accorded adequate priority, the resultant growth in industry as well as other employment avenues will offer the citizens better jobs and living conditions and thereby improve the overall standard of living. This situation also seems to have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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