Can the Welfare State Be Lean?
Czech Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 5, Alexander J. Bělohlávek, Naděžda Rozehnalová, Filip Černý, eds., 2014
36 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2014
Date Written: February 19, 2014
There are various basic ideas that justify the necessity for a welfare state, which are joined together by the idea of social consensus and solidarity in the interest of preserving peace in society. The only entity capable of exercising all these functions is the state. This holds true for the state’s traditional roles, internal order and external security. Modern states must secure communication both among its individual authorities and among citizens. This requires the implementation of technologies that enhance the quality of services provided by the state. Market failures affect the stability of the state, and consequently, states are forced to enter this domain, but also protect themselves against monopolization and secure the functioning of the market economy. A substantial portion of the funds that the state has at its disposal is spent on various social expenditures. All developed countries are faced with the necessity to protect the environment, which is, again, a global requirement. Last, but not least, the state must collect taxes to finance the activities of the welfare state. All of the above must be distributed and implemented by competent authorities established by the state. Despite the critics of the welfare state who argue that it is expensive, demotivating and bureaucratic, it is a reality without any adequate alternative, and its role will definitely increase in the near future.
Keywords: public interest, welfare state, regulation, security, safety, communication, environment, financial markets, competition, taxes, employment, liberalism, conservatism, socialism
JEL Classification: I30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation