Nowadays, the concept of the social state occupies a crucial place in the ideological views of all major political forces of our time. Simultaneously, the attitude towards the social state, its philosophical and politicolegal essence, and further ways of its development depends on the basic principles of the leading ideologies that have evolved over many decades, based on theoretical developments of scientists and public figures of the past and present.
Modern science offers a possibility to define several concepts of the social state.
M. Friedman1 explained the concept of the “new right” social state as “more market, less state” and noted four main areas where the actions of the state are completely legal and where the transfer of state functions to the market is undesirable:
adoption of law that creates a legal basis for the effective functioning of the market;
economic activity in cases where natural monopolies are involved;
organization of free provision of services where transfer to the market is simply inappropriate or too expensive;
paternalistic support for those who cannot be responsible for themselves.
Due to the popularity of the ideas of the “legal wing”, in particular, the permanent state aid slows down the activity of citizens, in a number of countries social security programs have been reduced, and the social services system is decentralized. F. von Hayek argued that income inequality is an effective form of coercion to work .
Since the 1970s and 1980s, neoliberals have proposed the creation of a social security system that somewhat smoothed out social inequality and did not undermine the labor motivation of the population. By the end of the 1980s, neoliberal ideas began to be intensively criticized by scholars from various countries.
For example, the American Scientist K. Gold called the following basic values that ensured the “positive freedom” of a citizen: guarantees of civil liberties and political human rights; equality of citizens for economic, social and spiritual benefits; i.e., “less state, more decentralization”.
The social democratic concept of the social state was most concentrated in the program documents adopted at the XVIII Congress of Socialist International held in 1989 in Stockholm. In social democratic doctrine, equality and individual freedom are inseparable, and rights and freedoms cannot replace each other; the system of social relations must be oriented to the realization of the principles of social equality and justice. From a social democratic perspective, greater equality contributes to greater economic efficiency.
The Neo-Marxist concept of a social state development has its roots in the Marxist analysis of how capitalism functions, generating antagonistic contradictions. Some neo-Marxists have come to the conclusion that in the present situation it is more appropriate to define classes based on unequal ownership of property than simply on their structural position in production. A. Wright refused the structural approach to class that he had used before, and on the basis of new analysis he singled out twelve classes depending on ownership of property, means of production, qualification, degree and forms of organization. R. Miliband believes that there are many modern manifestations of labor solidarity. For decades, the state “acted as the 'conscience of the rich' and assumed the responsibility to protect the ruling class from its own myopia” . The English Marxist N. Ginsburg argued that “the social security system is designed to reproduce capitalist social relations” .
The most significant influence on the further development of neo-Marxist conceptions of the social state was made by the works of J. O'Connor, who justified the existence of “a tendency to exceed state expenditures over income” as a result of objective circumstances.
After the exhaustion of the first wave of neo-Marxism in the 1980s, an empirical neo-Marxist direction was developed, mainly focused on comparative studies of the welfare state. Under this approach, the modern Dutch scientist G. Therborn works .
On the basis of the above, it can be concluded that the genesis of the concept of the social state has passed two major stages:
1) the stage of solving social protection issues at the level of an amateur society (public institutions and local communities);
2) the stage of transferring organizational efforts in the direction of social protection to the level of state institutions. At the second stage, the emergence of the phenomenon of the “social state” as a characteristic of a modern institution that cares for unprotected citizens in a liberal market economy can be fully confirmed.
1. Хайек Ф. Дорога к рабству / Пер. с англ. Москва: Новое издательство, 2005. − 264 с. − С. 46.
2. Gold K. Rethinking Democracy. − New York: Basic Books, 1986. − P. 115−119.
3. Новый программный документ Социнтерна // Коммунист. − 1989. − №1. − С.34−41.
4. Wright A. Socialisms: Theories and practices. − Oxford Oxford University Press, 1987.
5. Miliband R. Divided Societies. Class struggle in contemporary capitalism. − Oxford Oxford University Press, 1991.− 286 p. – P. 47.
6. Miliband R. Divided Societies. Class struggle in contemporary capitalism. − Oxford Oxford University Press, 1991.− 286 p. – P. 33.
7. Gilinour I. Dancing with Dogma.− London; Simon & Schuster, 1992. − P.47−48.
8. O'Connor J. The Fiscal Crisis of the State. − New York; St.Martin's Press, 1973. P. 2.
9. Therborn G. Karl Marx Returning: The Welfare State and Neo-Marxist, Corporatist and Statist Theories // International Political Science Review. – 1986. – Vol. 7, issue 2. – P. 131-164, https://doi.org/10.1177/019251218600700204