Seminars

The CPC Seminar Series takes place between October and June, all seminars are free to attend and no registration is required. If you would like to present please contact cpc@soton.ac.uk.

Welfare in an Idle Society? Reinventing Retirement, Work, Wealth, Health, and Welfare

3rd July 2014 3pm, University of Southampton, 54/8033 (8B)

Bernd Marin, European Centre for Social Welfare, Policy and Research

The modern welfare state is indeed one of the greatest achievements of the post-war 20th century. With its key aims of eradicating the five giant social ills of "Want, Ignorance, Disease, Squalor and Idleness", it has aimed to providing a minimum standard of living, with all people of working age paying a weekly contribution; in return, benefits would be paid to anyone who was sick, unemployed, retired or widowed. The modern welfare state, therefore, is about maintaining a delicate equilibrium between dependent social groups on the one hand and the active working classes on the other. In the case of old-age security, this balance is being achieved (or not) by the so-called Generation Contract. This social pact is more of an implicit, unwritten and unspecified social contract. This seminar will present the findings of the ground-breaking book, "Welfare in an Idle Society? Reinventing Retirement, Work, Wealth, Health and Welfare", that demonstrates how countries are addressing population-ageing challenges in depth, using the case study of Austria to gain the required complexity and differentiation in a comparative European framework of empirical evidence. The book offers a broad social science study in political economy and sociology, not an economic analysis. Though focusing on pensions, the analysis included in the book centres on the (im)balance between work and non-work, issues of health, work ability, employability, and benefit receipt from old-age security to disability allowance.

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