Social Democracy and Welfare Capitalism
A Century of Income Security Politics
What has brought about the widespread public provision of welfare and income security within free-market liberalism? Some social scientists have regarded welfare as a preindustrial atavism; others, as a functional requirement of industrial society. Most recently, scholars have stressed the reformist actions of center-left parties during the decades following World War II, the workings of "new" post-industrial politics lately, and a multifaceted role of politics and state institutions overall. Alexander Hicks thoroughly revises these views, stressing the enduring significance of class organizations, however politically embedded, from the era of Bismark until the present.
Social Democracy and Welfare Capitalism describes and explains income security programs in affluent and democratic capitalist nations, from the proto-democratic innovators of the 1880s to the globally buffeted democracies of the 1990s. Hicks's account stresses the reformist role of employee political and economic organization and derivative institutions, in particular, social democratic parties, labor unions, and neo-corporatist arrangements. These forces, arrayed as the elements of a transnational and century-long social democratic movement, give direction and continuity to the emergence, development, and contestation of income security policies.