In the Netherlands many people who do not have paid jobs will not go hungry and will Afbeeldingsresultaat voor welfare statenot have to sleep on the streets. This is because there are lots of provisions that guarantee decent living conditions, this is all arranged because the Netherlands is a welfare state. A welfare state means that the government takes an active role in ensuring the welfare and well-being of its people.

We know three different models of welfare state, the Scandinavian model, the Anglo-Saxon model, and the Rhineland or corporatist model, each with their own pros and cons. I am going to briefly explain some of those.

A positive about the Scandinavian model is that there is a very flexible labour market. In other words, the labour market can adjust to the economy very quickly because people can be fired and hired at very fast rates. Because of this there are also always jobs opening and more job openings means more opportunities for unemployed people to find a job. Another pro is that there is excellent social security. This means that there are very high benefits and also extensive maternity leave for parents with small children. For example, the maternity leave in Scandinavian countries is 96 weeks compared to 16 weeks in the Netherlands. The only main negative about the Scandinavian model is that it is a very expensive welfare system. This means that the population of the countries where this system is used have to bear a heavy collective tax burden.

The Anglo-Saxon model has, compared to the Scandinavian model, a lot less social security. This could be seen as a negative but not for the liberalists. Less social security gives the opportunity for more self-sufficiency, freedom and private initiative. The government plays a modest role in the welfare of the country, the only thing they really give priority to is to a good entrepreneurial climate. A really big negative is that there are little to no benefits in countries that use this model. People have to pay for things such as healthcare and education themselves. This forces people to work a lot of hours. Most people in the United States work 1800 hours annually as opposed to barely 1400 in the Netherlands. The fact that there are very few benefits in these countries makes for one big pro; there are very few taxes. Almost no benefits means that the government pays the people almost no money, so the people also don’t have to pay the government a lot of money.

The Rhineland model is a mix of the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon model. A pro of this model is that the employees have to be protected against dismissal or illness. Cons are that this model is under pressure. The cost of the welfare state have increased enormously and in recent years political choices have been moving us away from this model and towards the Anglo-Saxon one. Consequently, the provision of collective goods are increasingly being left to the free market and private companies. Another big negative is that women do not benefit and education and childcare are not regulated well.

I think the researchers of the article would prefer the Scandinavian model because they talk about it the most. Even if you would only look at the title of the article you would think they would prefer the Scandinavian model. The title says “A big safety net and a strong job market can coexist. Just ask the Scandinavians” . They say to ask the Scandinavians about how they do it, and that automatically hints to the fact that they would prefer the whole world doing it this way. The researchers keep saying that the people criticizing the Scandinavian model are wrong. There are a few instances where the researchers quote the Scandinavian model sceptics and disprove their arguments completely. For example they talk about that the welfare system is expensive, that people have to bear a heavy collective tax burden. Which is mainly due to the high costs and efforts in the field of child care and education. They found out that child care in Norway for example is around $1,100 a month but when you have to pay the market rate, it will be twice as much.

 

It think I am on the side of the researchers of this article. I would also prefer the Scandinavian model. When I read the text in the book I was already pretty convinced that the Scandinavians had the best way of approaching the problem that is welfare, but after I read the article I was even more convinced. My main argument to back-up why I chose this model is that I would rather pay more taxes than pay way too much money toward healthcare and education. When I am older I just want to be able to send my children off to college without paying thousands of euros. The researchers of this article proved my point by saying that it is even cheaper to pay more taxes and less for an education compared to paying less taxed and more toward education. Most people in countries where they use the Anglo-Saxon model say that if the state is generous and taxes are high people won’t work, but I completely disagree with this. The Scandinavian model not only includes generous benefits but also a very flexible labour market. This means there are constantly jobs opening and this makes it very easy to find a job. Scandinavian countries actually have the smallest unemployment rates in the world because of this flexible labour market. Even if the whole flexible market system fails, people that are unemployed for longer periods of time receive individual training courses. I also chose for the Scandinavian model because I really don’t like the Anglo-Saxon model. The idea that the government puts almost no effort in things as healthcare and education really discomforts me. I am a person who likes things to be stable and secure, but if I won’t get any benefits to, for example, go to college, that kind of stresses me out. I’d build up a lot of debts which I would all have to pay back after college, but what if I’m having difficulties to find a job and those debts will only get bigger. That just seems like a unnecessary amount of stress over something that can easily be solved by just paying a bit more taxes, or moving to a Scandinavian country.

Renske Pouwels
A4D

Advertisements