Future of Social Security

When the Chancellor of the German Empire Otto von Bismarck suggested health insurance, accident insurance and pension funds about 130 years ago, it was a time when the “social question”, as it was called at the time, dominated public discourse. The transition from an agriculture-based economy to an industrial society caused mass unemployment and impoverishment in society, followed by social unrest. By means of his reforms, Bismarck wanted to prevent a revolution. So he created insurance systems to connect people to and make them depended on the state.

Today, we face huge changes similar to those of the industrial revolution, and the connection of social insurance systems with the state is increasingly becoming a problem. The borders of the nation state are loosing their significance for work and for life in general. For example, whole generations now have their residence in Poland and work in Berlin or London. Others are processing orders for international employers in the gig economy and do not fit into traditional labour patterns. Full time jobs and straight employment biographies are no longer taken for granted. Our social security systems are not adapted to this, and so people are still clinging to full time jobs or the typical employee relationship a sign of their worries about the dependability and certainty of their employment.

However, this corresponds less and less to the present-day reality and to future labour markets.

This has been called the “Uberisation” of society, meaning that conventional rigid structures are dropped in favour of flexible employment relationships, which can be established for a few hours only. There are strong concerns about thisfor example, Germany’s federal minister of labour and social affairs, Andrea Nahles, has said that “flexibility is not everything” and that a balance between flexibility and security has to be found. In the following case study, we want to outline ways, which could lead out of this dilemma. What kind of solutions do already exist today, enabling the coexistence of security and flexibility, with no boundaries either way?

A well-known solution for this is the basic income, which guarantees security for the individual while allowing maximum flexibility for the employment market. With the basic income, nobody is bound to a certain employment to get the benefit of security.

In this brochure, other solutions are presented, which could complement the idea of the basic income. These solutions have been known as “peer-to-peer insurances” or “solidarity-based communities”.

Armin Steuernagel
Entrepreneur and economist, founder NEOPOLIS Network

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Download [PDF]: Case Study EN

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