Talk:Welfare state

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RationalWiki, Fair and Balanced.[edit]

Love the bias here. How's it like acting exactly like the people you antagonize in Conservapedia? (talk)

Yes; we are exactly like whatever a "conservapedia" is. Blue Talk 13:05, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
You are not good at comebacks, are you? (talk)
Please see RationalWiki:SPOV. Thank you. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 09:45, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
What, precisely did you think is wrong with the article? Not much point in making generic and gratuitous comments unless you also make specific points also. --DamoHi 09:47, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

What's your reason behind?[edit]

I gave you my reason countless times in the fossil record. Now it's your turn. (talk)

Frankly I think the article is pretty fair. I think you might be able to suggest some additions to "the bad" section along the lines of welfare creates dependency or prevents economic growth or whatever, provided you cite some sources to suggest it. However I don't think you will get very far in taking out information that critiques the woo aspects of the opposition to welfare (ie healthcare leads to concentration camps or even some of the relatively saner Hayek 'bureacracy leads to serfdom' stuff). As for the democracy index part I agree it could be described better. --DamoHi 11:15, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Still, defending welfare as caring for others is quite the straw man, comparable to defending conscription and nationalism as caring for your country and supremacism as caring for your race. Also, the economic freedom index may be used to show that government control of the economy correlates with low quality of life. Things like that are on the WP page. (talk)
I don't agree with your first point at all. I think opposition to paying taxes to help out the poorer members of society is fundamentally based around selfishness. I think it gets dressed up in all sorts of ways but at its root I think that people just don't want to look after others. I would be interested in seeing you show that moderate government of the economy correlates with lower quality of life. Looking at, for example rates of eduaction (surely a relevant factor in quality of life), it would appear that many of the states that have a relatively strong welfare state are performing very well in giving their kids a good education. [1] But I am prepared to hear you out. Astound me with your stats. --DamoHi 11:26, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I guess then opposition to the draft is based primarily on a selfish desire not to die in the army, but does that entail that conscription is altruistic care for the country? If people didn't want to look out for others, and only stronger governments would make them do so, North Korea would be one of the most prosperous places in the world. But do people share in North Korea? Certainly not. See, selfishness amplifies when people don't get (what they think) is the true value of their work. If people had an intrinsic tendency not to look after another, multibillion dollar charities wouldn't exist. If mothers couldn't care for their babies without societal force, we wouldn't be existing. If you insist on empirical results, this, starting from page 23, I think will help. (talk)
Anyways its 12:30am here so I shall retire from the argument. No doubt if you are polite and articulate someone will succeed me. --DamoHi 11:32, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh, dear, BoN. Talk about lying with statistics. In the list of "most free" right there at #12, is the UK with universal health care free at the point of delivery, and around one third of the national budget being spent on the Welfare State. Your pretty pictures do not show what you think they do. By US terms the UK is a far left socialist country and yet we outrank the US (#18) for "economic freedom". WTF! Innocent Bystander (talk) 12:40, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
BoN does not seem to have read the paper, but has simply looked at the graphs at the end. Most of the countries within the "economically most free" are countries with a healthy welfare system. I see NZ at 3 which has universal healthcare, public (compulsory) accident insurance, unemployment and domestic purposes benefits etc etc. If BoN were serious, he would point to stats which showed that the government provision of welfare tended to lower economic performance. I have some doubt as to whether such stats exist, but I remain waiting. DamoHi 22:56, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Remove Welfare Trap section[edit]

The Welfare Trap section is redundant with "welfare dependency" mentioned earlier in the article, though it could be expanded. I also think equating reduced welfare income to a tax is disingenuous. I propose deleting this section. Discuss. Read-Write (talk) 21:43, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

A welfare state is a sign of a nation in decline?[edit]

The following paragraph was recently added to the introduction of this article:

Now, here's the bad news: comprehensive historical analysis of texts, chronicles, and archeology have suggested that welfare states, while noble in practice, are, in fact, subtle signs that signify a declining nation, other factors including class division, extreme bipartisanship, economic recession, and uncontrollable levels of immigration. This, by no means, suggests that social programs and immigration are bad, by any means, but that they are simply indicative of a power either in a state of flux, or on the verge of collapse due to eerily near-identical trends in past empires, dating all the way back to ancient Assyria. This does not suggest that the country itself, as an entity, will cease to exist, but just a reduction into a shadow of its former self, or, at worse, a (T)rump state.

While there's plenty of criticism of welfare that might be worth mentioning in the article, the claim that welfare states are "subtle signs that signify a declining nation" that is "in a state of flux, or on the verge of collapse" sounds a bit alarmist to me. I doubt that we can put a lot of trust into the source, since it cites no other sources, and it seems borderline alt-rightish at times ("History seems to suggest that the age of decline of a great nation is often a period which shows a tendency to philanthropy and to sympathy for other races" and its claim that the weakening of religion is a mark of "decadence").

Also, the "Trump state" comment is just silly, considering that (1) the US was never much of a welfare state, so it doesn't work as an example, and (2) Trump wants to weaken the welfare system.

ThineAntidote (talk) 17:47, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

@Darth Ravigious Since you have re-added this section, can you please address the criticisms raised here? CowHouse (talk) 03:30, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
How does it sound alt-rightish? Just because you happen to disagree with it? To me, it sounds to me as if those things are said in more objective of a tone. I got the sense that it was like, "In practice, it is a good thing, but human nature and civil structure exists in such a delicate way where it is unsustainable for a long period of time". There is a difference between "decline" and "collapse". Rome was in decline by the time of Emperor Commodus, who brought it under the bell curve. The decline lasted over a large period of time, and then it collapsed by the fourth century (last century of its existence in the West can't even be considered an empire) This is a pretty famous and oft-cited essay from the mid 20th century that redefined how historians examine empire. The religion thing honestly kind of holds up too. I'm not religious myself, but that is one such suggestion that actually seems to correlate with not just the United States, but with other waning superpowers, along with the pursuit of hedonistic pleasure, sex, frivolity, bread and circuses, etc. It is not a particular sign of decadence as much as it is a symptom, if that makes any sense (I also have no idea how the religion thing sounds alt-righty, because the alt-right would probably state the exact opposite, seeing as they tend to be their own strand of militant atheist). I don't know if you are a history buff or not, but, if you are, I will assure you that the Empire Cycle is perhaps one of the most fascinating and mysterious topics to be discussed, and unfortunately, it is not discussed enough (I also think we should get rid of the Trump thing - it honestly is pretty stupid) Darth Ravigious (talk) 18:39, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
@Darth Ravigious Update: I have edited the section, because the claim that it was based on ”comprehensive historical analysis of texts, chronicles, and archeology” is clearly not borne out by the source which is simply an essay by John Bagot GlubbWikipedia on the decline of empires. It is both dated (from 1977) and neither was Glubb a historian or a specialist in welfare states (indeed that bit is almost a side note in the essay), but instead a military officer. See also the section below of why the historical comparison fails. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:07, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
@ScepticWombat Do you not think that it is worth mentioning, at least? I know that this wiki has more of a center-left bias and all, but it is good to provide different sides of the argument. The information I added was not even a partisan argument against the Welfare State. Just to shine some light on it all, I'll share a video here (clip from a documentary on the financial crisis). Darth Ravigious (talk) 22:37, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
@Darth Ravigious It’s not that there’s no legitimate criticism of welfare states, but that particular line and source was (at least as far as I can see) quite spurious. Citing the dated grumblings of an old British imperialist trying to portray 1970s Britain as decadent imperial Rome is just bunk.
The video simply repeats Glubb’s assertions and uses a similar style of cherry picking isolated, superficial similarities, some of them simply silly, such as the claim that “an obsession with sex” apparently being a particular symptom of the decadent last stage of imperial decline. The video then veers off into goldbuggery and ends up with more cherry picking (gourmet chefs were also sought after in “vigorous” empires, e.g. France of the Sun King, Elizabethan England and so forth).
What is illustrative of the pointlessness of this argument is that the most comprehensive welfare states were built in small countries that had mainly ditched their empires long before (we can always quibble about e.g. the Atlantic parts of the Danish realm).
Another counter example would be Bismarck’s introduction of a (for its time) quite ambitious series of old age, accident and other insurance and protection schemes, what he termed Staatssozialismus (state socialism), during a phase in the German Empire’s history that can hardly be labelled the decadent phase (i.e. the 1880s and ‘90s). ScepticWombat (talk) 04:34, 29 October 2018 (UTC)
Eh. I get your argument. I still think that the trends are valid, for the most part, but I disagree with the whole "we are in decadence", seeing as Glubb said that "Decadence" was during the Roaring Twenties. Rome's decandence - the age of Bread and Circus - was, in comparison to what we have now, WAY more extreme. Plus, it seems reasonable to mistake the consumerist ethos of capitalism as being societal decadence, which was exactly what Marx believed. Basically, the decadence argument comes across as being very similar to edgy kids who unironically rant about how we're living in "Late-Stage Capitalism", which is more or less just an arbitrary fantasy. So, yeah, I see your point. While Glubb is actually seen as a credible historian, he's still not spot-on, and his essay is quite dated. And you do make a good point about Bismark. However, in terms of modern welfare states, the truly succesful ones only exist in smaller socially democratic countries. It could have negative effects if implemented here in the U.S. Personally, I'd rather have open borders than a welfare state, but that's just me (I'm a liberal, not a social democrat). In terms of what you call "goldbuggery", I do think that the documentary makes an extremely valid point. The people who essentially dismiss the benefits of hard currency over arbitrary systems like fiat are more or less the same exact people who unironically refer to economics as a "dismal science". Cranky Federal Reserve & Rothschild conspiracy theories aside, the evidence frankly does suggest that Central Banking and centralized currency is more or less responsible for stimulating inflation and even possibly being responsible for economic recessions. Both Keynesians and Monetarists seem to agree on this. Darth Ravigious (talk) 19:12, 7 December 2018 (UTC)


"One criticism of welfare states is that, while noble in practice, they are, in fact, subtle signs that signify a declining nation, other factors including class division, extreme bipartisanship, economic recession, and uncontrollable levels of immigration. This does not necessarily suggest that social programs and immigration are bad, but that they are indicative of a power either in a state of flux, decline or on the verge of collapse."

Eh? This passage is not compelling. Why do we have it here? --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png 🎄LeftyGreenMario!🎄(Mod) 19:23, 7 November 2018 (UTC)

Probably because people missed when somebody added it? It happens. Sounds like the whining Alt-right trolls do about Sweden. Hint: We're not on the verge of collapse. Dendlai (talk) 19:27, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
Every Alt-Right asshole I've talked to are gung-ho about welfare statism. Except the minority of neo-nazis who're ancaps. Other than that, it seems most of them are some kind of right-wing socialist or syncretic corporatist. Darth Ravigious (talk) 19:17, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Ancient Assyria was a “welfare state”?!? What the fucking fuck? According to whom and to what definition?[edit]

Okay, the “ugly” section reads as a bizarre pseudohistorical argument that any bad/declining state is by definition a welfare state, but omits any definition, arguments to actually back up this, eeehh..., bold, statement which relies on one, as I see it, rather dubious source. So, are we really going to base this sweeping generalisation on a 1977 publication by Sir John Bagot GlubbWikipedia? It’s clearly a polemical piece on the (mis)fortunes of empire, which only briefly touches on the welfare state (in one, short paragraph on p. 17-18, just after the one entitled The Master Race...) and it does not mention Assyria or most of the other examples listed here on RW, but only what Glub claimed was the unreasonable generosity of Roman and the Arab empires as supposed historical precursors of the British welfare state. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:46, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

@ScepticWombat If you could link an online copy of the book and the passages in question I'm almost certain you could get away with rewriting or removing the disputed section. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 22:17, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie I'm not entirely sure what book you're referring to. If you mean the publication by Glub that I mentioned, then it's the one currently cited. My inclination is to simply delete the "imperialism leads to a welfare state" claim as I think it's bogus. ScepticWombat (talk) 22:23, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
When you say it like that it does sound silly, so... Go ahead. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 22:26, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
I mean, there are historical trends that suggest that such is the case. Officially, the first "welfare state" (in name) was Germany under Otto von Bismark, but similar ideas have been around for thousands of years. For example, take a look at Rome under Diocletian. He established a social program that distributed grain and bread to everyone across the Empire, both to help the people who had become impoverished during the Crisis of the Third Century (the civil war that destroyed the Principate), and to stimulate the Roman economy, which was in a recession (proto-keynesianism, essentially). It worked very well at first, but it led to the debasement of the Silver Denarius &, eventually, massive debt. That was one, but not the only factor that led to the Empire's decline. Just to clear some things up as well, I'm not even anti-welfare or government healthcare (although I much prefer Obamacare to Single Payer), in case anybody thinks I'm trying to turn the wiki into some right-wing propaganda site; I was not trying to promote some kind of "agenda", in case you believe that such is the case. I was merely improving the article by incorporating an additional sociological analysis. Darth Ravigious (talk) 22:30, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply; began to respond long ago, got sidetracked and then forgot about it.
The problem I have with Glub is that he was not conducting any kind of ”sociological analysis”, but simply venting his dislike of contemporary British society in his old age. By (re)defining “welfare state” to mean any kind of ruler/state subsidy to their subjects/citizens, the term becomes meaningless.
Furthermore, the Roman example amounts to something like historical socioeconomic nutpicking. Using a similar(ly flawed) historical analogy, you could just as easily point to the tradition of pharaonic state food and land (re)distribution and the longevity of the pharaonic state as evidence of the efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness of the welfare state. Note that I’m not making such a claim, but merely using it to illustrate what happens when one adopts an extremely broad definition of a “welfare state” and then starts looking for historical examples to slot into either a positive or negative view of welfare states.
To call Diocletian and other Roman emperors’ debasement of the currency (a long established practice by cash strapped rulers throughout history) ”proto-Keynesianism” is not only absurdly ahistorical, but also extremely tendentious. This projects modern economic thinking back onto an era which had very little of it and thus the claim that Diocletian was engaged in a deliberate attempt to stimulate the economy to avoid a recession is a nonsensical and ahistorical framing. Engaging in massive building projects and showing generosity and magnanimity (and thus to generate/reward client as expected in the Roman patron/client system) was something any Roman emperor was expected to do, whether in good times or bad, expectations that even transcended the shift from Principate to Dominate. ScepticWombat (talk) 23:52, 20 December 2018 (UTC)