Aims of the Welfare State

The welfare State is first and foremost a social service State. It seeks to free the unprivileged classes, the workers, the unemployed, the poor and the needy, from the fear of want and from the fear of social misery, like unemployment, diseases, ill-health, lack of education, or medical care. In other words, it seeks to protect the weak from the competition and exploitation of the economically strong, e.g., the workers from their employers. The goal is a better life for every individual, by protecting the weaker members of the society from the worst effect of economic distress and pressures of the private enterprise and capitalist R. Titmus, “and imposes a great increase in social discipline; moreover, this discipline is only tolerable if-and only if—social inequalities are not intolerable.”

Hence Great Britain and other Great Powers adopted a programme of social service both before and after the World War II. The third factor in the rise of the welfare State is the challenge of the new “communist States”, life that of the Society Union, etc. They can be well described as “total welfare States” for they profess to harness or plan all the national resources of the country not for the profit of the few but for the service or welfare of all. Thus the “communist challenge” becomes at once a political, social, economic, ideological and military challenge to the industrially advanced Western States.

It has compelled them to undertake social and economic planning for the general welfare of their unprivileged classes and sections of the society. With the collapse of the communist system, as at present, this challenge, will decrease and even vanish. Lastly tremendous, epoch-making advances in science, technology and engineering have placed at the disposal of the modern States, especially highly industrialised countries, such huge economic resources in money, energy and power, that it is now possible to produce and distribute unlimited and abundant wealth and material goods among all classes and sections of the society. “As the wealth created by modern industry increases it is contended that there is enough to assure everyone, including the physically and mentally handicapped, of adequate support without unfairly penalizing or impairing the initiative of the talented and enterprising.

An income large enough to provide the basic necessities of life in adequate measure is regarded as the right of every member of society. If income of some body falls short, it should be supplemented not as an act of charity, but as an act of social justice.” What private enterprise could produce fitfully and meagrely can now be produced by planned and socialised or nationalised industry, science and technology in abundance. Hence it is the duty of the welfare State not only to harness modern resources of science, industry and technology by proper use of manpower but also to distribute it equitably and justly for the welfare of all people, without any regard for the privileged classes, as it was in the past.