The Norwegian Welfare Society/State “Norwegian welfare state” – concepts and dimensions/issues

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University of Oslo, Sophus Bugges Hus, Aud. 2. – 4.2.2013: 16.15 – 18.00

The Norwegian Welfare Society/State

  1. Norwegian welfare state” – concepts and dimensions/issues

  • welfare dimensions and issues – discussion with students

  • the widening of the welfare concept

  • welfare society and welfare state

  • welfare-policies in different countries

  • arguments for the welfare-state

  1. Three general historical developments A. From family/church/charity responsibilities to welfare society and welfare state B. From a more narrow definition of welfare rights (basic health, income, nutrition, housing) to a wider (education, culture, environment) C. From general services and professions to specialization – followed by efforts to coordinate and integrate different services

  1. National welfare policies

  • Realized through programs/plans, organization, legislation and budgets

  • Responsibilities for municipalities, counties and state level

  • Welfare priorities among Norwegian political parties: consensus and conflicts

4. Some important historical events and welfare reforms

  • Poor Commissions from ca. 1740 (poor tax) – The Poor Law of 1845

  • Migration in the 19th and 20th century, ca. 1/3 of the population, mainly to North-America – less economic, social and political tension in Norway

  • Industrialization and urbanization from the 1850’ies:Welfare consequences

  • The Health Law of 1860 – The Law on Labour Protection 1892 (restrictions on child labour) – Social Insurance system 1894 – Compulsory sick insurance for workers 1909 – The Children Laws 1915 – 8 hours normal working day from 1919

  • Economic crisis/unemployment 1929-35 followed by “New Deal” in Norway

  • Old Age Insurance 1936, Unemployment Insurance 1938

  • 1945: The joint program of all political parties, focusing on development of the welfare state and on cooperation between organizations and political parties

  • Important reforms in the coming years: 1946: State Housing Bank and Family Allowance Act, 1953: Child Care Act, 1956: Sick Insurance Ac (obligatory), 1957: Old Age Pension after 70 years, 1964: New Social Care Act

  • 1967 and 1971: National Insurance Act “Folketrygden”, integrating many earlier reforms into one comprehensive, and giving old pensions to people over 67 years, 1977: Workers Protection and Environmental Act, 1984: Local Health Service Act, (“Kommunehelseloven”)

  • Many of these laws have been reformed during the last 20 years

  • In education (as part of the welfare state) important reforms. Now 10 years of obligatory education (6-16). Right to three or four years of upper secondary education for all young people. Most studies at colleges and universities are free.

  • 2006-2013: Integrating social service, social security/pensions and labour recruitment through local offices and regional and national administration (NAV)

5. Recent problems and challenges for the welfare state

  • Expenditures rising; more old people, fewer to finance; growing expectations and demands

  • Connections and priorities between prevention – healing – rehabilitation

  • Integration of different services/professions (labour market, social security, health)

  • Recruitment of welfare-workers: salaries and gender, dependence of migration workers etc

  • The present NAV-reform – coordinating pensions, social services and employment assistance

  • Privatization and/or continuing welfare state?

  • Effects on welfare from globalization: economic ups and downs – benefits and challenges connected with migration

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