Do We Really Need Welfare States?

Tuesday, 15. October 2013 | 16:00 Uhr


Franz-Xaver Kaufmann


University Bielefeld


Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, Professor Emeritus of the University of Bielefeld, made the benefits of the welfare state, but also the critics’ objections, the focus of his presentation.
The social or welfare state is not only the sum of its public institutions that should serve the legal protection, economic security, and personal promotion of the population or specific population groups. Rather, the welfare state is the institutional realization of a political idea which took shape before the background of the Second World War and obtained transnational legitimacy through the economic, social and cultural rights in the context of the United Nations’ ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. He examined the questions as to what extent and under which conditions the realization of the guiding principles of the welfare state are advantageous, what the functionality of the welfare state consists of, what its normative requirements are, and where specific risks lie for a welfare state society under the conditions of democracy.
One of the questions from the audience was whether a debt ceiling for the old age and survivors’ pension and the disabled pension would make sense to prevent excessive indebtedness? Find out what the speaker thinks about this in the video.

Presentation of Professor Franz-Xaver Kaufmann

Franz-Xaver Kaufmann

Professor for Sociology and Social Policy, Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld (FRG) (1969 –
Director, Institute for Population Research and Social Policy, University of Bielefeld (1980 – 1992)
Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Bielefeld (1979 – 1983)
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Munster (FRG) (1968 – 1969)
Senior Research Associate, “Sozialforschungsstelle an der Universität Münster”, (Professor H. Schelsky) Dortmund (FRG) (1963 – 1968)
Staff member, Personnel Section, CIBA S.A., Basle (Switzerland) (1960 – 1963)
Assistant, Seminar of political economy, Hochschule St. Gallen (Switzerland) (1956 – 1957)

Studies and Degrees
Habilitation for Sociology and Social Policy, by the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Munster (1968)
Doctorate in Economics, Hochschule St. Gallen (1960)
First degree (lic.oec.) in Economics, Hochschule St. Gallen (1956)
Studies of Law, Political Economy, Business Science, and Sociology at the University of Zurich, Hochschule St. Gallen and the University of Paris (1952 – 1958)

Donators and Partners

The ETH Board is responsible for the strategic leadership of the ETH domain and assumes the supervision of its institutions. Its close relationship with the ETH Council has contributed to the successful continuation of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2000.

The Foundation promotes research into the connecting human fundamentals of science. Academia Engelberg Foundation and the Foundation for Basic Research in Human Sciences have entered into a cooperation agreement for the period 2011 to 2015.

Helvetia is a quality-oriented comprehensive insurance company with over 150 years of experience. Academia Engelberg Foundation is convinced it will be able to use important synergies from the partnership starting in 2015.

DIE HIRSCHMANN STIFTUNG ist eine gemeinnützige schweizerische Stiftung. 1985 wurde sie vom Unternehmer und Aviatik-Pionier Carl W. Hirschmann gegründet.

A partnership with the University of Lucerne has existed since summer 2013. Since 2016 we have also a parthership with the Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Lucerne. Through these partnerships, synergies are used and joint projects are tested and realized. The University of Lucerne currently consists of three faculties: the faculties for Theology, Culture and Social Sciences, and Law.

The focus of the Foundation is the promotion of organizations in the areas of culture and arts, architecture, design, music, sports, education, and science. It has been a partner of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2014.