Extended Family to Welfare State

1. Food Gathering       Tribal.  Care of sick by extended family.
   --------------       Witch Doctor - share of produce

2. Agriculture          If tribal, as 1
   -----------          If ruling elite,  less care for sick & old.
                        Witch Doctor not operating.  Rulers have
3. Simple Technology    sick care from their womenfolk & servants
                        In tribal conditions, travellers & destitute
4. City State           given hospitality in any house.
                        Urban worker: extended family continues but
                        weaker. Money economy - medical services
                        for those who could afford it only.
5. Empire (Roman)       Prosperity of extended family dependent on
   --------------       employment of its members (rather than a
                        the larger tribe)

                        Bread & circus to provide necessities for
                        people in the capitals.  Tended to produce
                        a rabble

6. Medieval (Europe)    As feudal 2 & 3. Little known of serf
   -----------------    conditions but harsh. No (witch) doctor.
                        Unlikely a serf allowed time off from work
                        on lord's land nor others to care for him.
                        Providing a sick person with food which he
                        hadn't grown caused hardship for others.
                        Short life expectancy. Monasteries provided
                        sick care if near.

                        Emergence from feudalism restores extended
                        family care.  Emergence of doctors for rich

7. Industrial           Movement into cities reduces extended
   Revolution           family; Constant Trend of Dwellings increases
   ----------           single families living on own; migration of
                        women into home increases dependence on
                        the employment of fewer people in the house-
8. Consumer Society     hold - less support from a wider group.
   ----------------     Work Houses for destitute

9. Mass Production      Dwellings trend & mobility makes "nuclear"
   Society              family general.  Moves to revert to
   ---------------      dependence on a wider group.  State provides
                        medical care for all,  help during un-
                        employment,  cheap housing for poor, income
                        in old age - retirement; income & homes for
                        mothers without husbands.

                        Above expands. State employs people to tend
                        the old in their homes, to supervise problem
                        families, to spy on people supposed to be 
                        idle to insure they remain idle

                        Probable overshoot:  people without jobs may
                        be better off than in job, single mother may
                        be better housed than young people buying
                        their own homes. The labour intensity of all
                        this causes costs to soar  -  government
                        can't raise cost in taxes - inflation


It might be simplest to say that the "natural" state of man (in the absence of any oppression by a warrior elite) appears to be for care of people who are sick or otherwise incapacitated to fall on an extended family, and the wider society. Provided the society as a whole remains economically viable (which is does not all the time - e.g. famines) its members will also. (This "time" in which it does not, itself reduces with economic development.)

A servile condition under a warrior elite reduces this state, plus the Constant Trends of Dwellings, the emergence of discrete employment, and the money economy, reduce the dependence virtually to the level of the individual nuclear family.

So the developments in Level 9 can be looked upon as a return to the more natural condition of providing dependence for people on hard times from the rest of society - after the oppressive warrior elite was removed in Level 6. This might be thought rather a long delay - but other Sectors also show that the inertia may be long, e.g. in the Role of Women. While the UK emerged from feudalism slowly after 1485 (other parts of Europe later), the landowning rulers were still the warrior successors - and formed a distinct caste well into the 1800s. Votes for most were not achieved before Level 9 (and people without any land such as tramps & gypsies still have no vote), and votes for most people were likely to have a big influence.

Now it appears that this return may have overshot the mark, probably by the momentum of its adoption, and the methods used - a monetary methods of providing benefits and the labour intensity of the services provided. We are unlikely to see an increase in the Welfare State on the scale we have seen after the war. The soaring cost will see to that. The labour intensity concept applies here as it applies to labour intensive activities: where the productivity does not improve along with the economy as a whole the workers still want pay rises in line with workers generally - hence the real costs of the activity rise with time. Obviously there is no productivity of the sick, retired or unemployed. But much play is made if their benefits do not rise "in line with wages" - if they do the costs will soar even more.

Productivity in the economy as a whole increases due to the commercial processes of competition and invention. These are largely absent in government run activities. The soaring costs have come to a head in the early Post Industrial period. Governments have attempted measures, particularly privatisations. They are going to continually have such measurers just to stand still.

It is probably better to look upon this as not a Constant Trend, but a return to a Constant Situation which has been disrupted by impacts in the past. This return to dependence has now largely worked itself out. The future is likely to involved consolidation, and ways to achieve the results more effectively.


The future of this Sector is bound up with a fair number of others

While the trends from Savings impinge on most of these. Unemployment has not been specifically considered elsewhere, and a Sub-Sector is created for it.

The general conclusion is that the re-emergence of a supportive society has produced strains and overshoots - to the extent that the State cannot afford the cost, which will increasingly be made worse by the labour intensity of all the above activities. Thus the early Post Industrial period at least will see the rationalisation of these activities to achieve results more effectively. To see ways in which these might be brought about, we can look at what we have already deduced in the above areas.


Pension schemes funded by the state and employers will not be able to pay realistic pensions especially under high inflation, which is expected to return (from Savings). Lower inflation has been caused by a series of Banking Crises. But in the current one, the Credit Crunch, Governments have unusually relieved the banks from having to pay interest to their depositors by bringing down Bank Rate to near 0%. This is crippling the Pension Funds - who rely for much of their income on such interests. It is not expected that Governments can control such interest rates for ever - but its unclear how long they can continue to do so. Such Banking Crises can last for several decades before they work themselves out - when high inflation will return. The result will be that people will keep their second jobs - and the numbers of people with second jobs (including Underground Economy) will rise. Retired people are likely to be happier with some continuing economic activity. Actual retirement is likely to come when people become unfit to continue working.

This has the effect of getting the retired population back to work, and creating wealth - and reducing the time that they are entirely dependent on the rest of the community. Otherwise this will produce a considerable strains on the Post Industrial Society, where the numbers of people over retirement ages will rise (from Health).

Both States and employers are likely to limit their exposure to pensions. This can be achieved by encouraging people to take out their own pension provision (which is occurring in the UK). Since less and less people work for one employer all their lives, single-employer pension schemes are not satisfactory. Thus the insurance industry takes on a support role by pooling people's contributions for their welfare. However, the assumption that the financial system is capable of storing up this much wealth over a long period and doling it out again is false on several counts - and particularly under inflation it cannot cope (from Savings). While 40% of people in the UK are disillusioned with pensions, donít trust them, and donít want to commit their earnings to them. UK pensions contributors plateaued in the early 1990s, and have fallen slightly since. Part of this is due to employers withdrawing from pension. (There are recent reports of sharp falls in pension contributions, down to half, partly due to cost of living rises, with the Saving Ratio lowest since 1961.)

The de facto age of retirement has been falling from the official 60 Ė 65, now averaging 55 and falling in the UK. The reason is complex impacts from the next section, unemployment. People loosing their jobs after 40 (about the average age of employed people) find it increasingly difficult to obtain another. This has always been so - but the difficulty itself has been increased with increased ageism. Under Unemployment below it is debated if this 40 threshold will itself reduce (as the average age of employed people is getting lower). The result is that the employment option for people much over 40 (or possibly an even lower age) is increasingly becoming closed to them. This gives the average UK 55-year retirement - but the problem can affect many people at an earlier age. Retirement here will not give adequate pensions. Such people are condemned to a twilight world of temporary assignments, interim appointments or consultant roles - which get less frequent with time. That is if they have not established their own viable business, while naturally more people in these positions will attempt to do so - as in the mainstream forecast above.

Laws are being brought in to outlaw age discrimination in many countries, which will counter the above trend. Whether it will do more than reduce the rate of fall of average retirement age is doubtful.

If the trend continues it will be more generally realised that the employment option is for the early part of oneís working life, and more people will plan accordingly. Some employers will realise there are opportunities to use such older people - but at low pay - which is what a few currently offer today. Other employers may seek to change the whole structure of work by offering position to such older people in return for a large capital contribution (such older people often have substantial capital from redundancy payments, house value, and savings). There are such offerings at present but many are fraudulent. Some such as franchise opportunities may be viable but carry risks.

Governments are attempting to limit their exposure to pensions by several contra-trend methods. Laws requiring employers to provide pension schemes are contrary to the trend of employers withdrawing from them. Pension schemes defining decent pensions have almost all be closed - due to the cost both to employers and staff. They are replaced, oddly, with schemes which define contributions but not the pensions to be received - which we can assume will not provide adequate pensions. People who take out such pensions are unlikely to get back the purchasing power they put in - while closing of a recent defined benefit scheme showed many want the pay today rather than a long time in the future. Another contra-trend activity of Governments is to make laws to progressively raise retirement ages. While these are entirely logical with people being more healthy and living longer - the more complex trends actually occurring are for people to retire much earlier not later, and will be effectively thrown back on their own resouces for old ages, as given in the above paragraphs.


Unemployment has risen in the early Post Industrial period to about 10% of the workforce, and so has its cost. It is Business Cycle linked, so the maximum occurs in Squeezes, and unemployment falls in Booms.

The complex trends and impacts surrounding this problem will not end it for some time. No mechanisms to increase efficiency can be seen in the short to medium term. In the longer term the Computer-Media should enable much more rapid matching of people to jobs. This will fill jobs quicker, but will not make much difference to the time someone is in the idle pool when the pool is much larger than the jobs available.

Welfarers & Scroungers

Whether this is a real or imagined question at present is unclear. As more people have second jobs, and many in the Underground Economy, one may expect many of these people to feel they have a moral right to claim unemployment benefit if they lose their first job - having contributed heavily for it. They also need to continue their "front" in the formal economy. Also most of these people will be skilled at keeping their second jobs dark from the authorities, and so may well feel inclined to do so from the benefit authorities. The authorities will of course take the opposite moral view.

Thus this issue is likely to grow in importance - but is likely to be unprofitably tackled though a hue and cry with more "people employed to see that those who are supposed to be idle remain so". Conflict, as is envisaged as possible with the tax man, may occur.

There may be a solution which may eventually seen by the State. At present they pay out heavily for unemployment benefit, which suffers from the absolute labour intensity problem. They also employ hordes of staff to do their business, which also suffers from the labour intensity problem. Could they not achieve much of their business using the unemployed pool? It would stop people working while also claiming benefit. If an underground economy man was faced with induction into the army for a year it might dampen his ardour to claim unemployment benefit. Also as time goes on it will be more difficult to recruit for dirty jobs out of a more and more educated population: street cleaners, washers-up in hospitals etc - and unemployment benefit claimants may be drafted. It is likely at some point that this solution will be used, but it is not possible to say when.

Lifting people's income to a minimum

This feature of introducing wider support mechanisms is likely to get into a tangle. It had got into a tangle in the UK, but was partly dismantled. It may be re-introduced, and occurs in other countries. The problem is that it never goes away. There are always some people who are at the bottom of the economic ladder - who appear to the average to be in a deprived state and must be helped [even these people will be living in splendour compared with the chiefs of Levels 1,2,3 Societies, which was the average condition of mankind throughout history, and much of the world today].

People's incomes can be brought up to a minimum level by the State paying them a supplement, or by laws for minimum wages. The problem with the first is that it requires an army of administrators. The cost to the State means it is likely to get out of it by using the second - minimum wage laws. The employment market is already over regulated, reducing the attractiveness of the employee product, reducing employee hirings, and increasing unemployment (from Unemployment). Minimum wage laws can be expected to increase this - quite contrary to the whole objective.

There seems to be no obvious improving mechanism in sight. Government funding problems are however likely to reduce the support threshold, thus allowing a wider economic variation society. The high end of society is cut-off through taxation - but is likely to be increasingly escaped through the Underground Economy.

Health Care

The trend is likely to be a growth of private health care through insurance, which is likely to overtake the State system (where the State provides it). In the longer term this is likely to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Care of long term sick

This used to be the province of the extended family, and the State still attempts to put this responsibility onto the family where it can. But the family - generally meaning the children of the sick person often attempt to resist this. With increased mobility, and families with both parents working, and unmarried daughters all working, in more cases a suitable person to look after the sick person will not be available. Thus the State will have to do this for them.

Thus this seems an area of growing activity and mounting cost to the State. Growth of privately financed old people's homes does not seem likely with the problems over pensions. In the longer term the growth of private medical insurance may reduce this problem - though again the private medical insurance may suffer from the same problems as pensions - it is a myth that the financial system can store up wealth over long periods. Old people's homes are extremely expensive, and will be more so because they are labour intensive.

The UK government has introduced charges for long term sick care (as opposed to ordinary hospital treatment which is covered by the National Health Service), and will not pay the costs until the person's assets have been removed by the charges. This is causing uproar as children find they are losing their inheritances. This is an example of the lengths governments are likely to have to go to tackle the growing labour intensity problems of most of their activities

Supervision of problem people

With the re-introduction of support mechanisms, there seems to be a growth of concern of how people live generally. Before Level 9 a man could beat his wife. Now such behaviour would be regarded as criminal, and would be subject to ongoing supervision by social workers.

The same is true for a large number of other dimensions - where previously people would be left to sort themselves out, now they are expected to behave to an increasingly strict set of criteria. Even beating of children is becoming illegal in more countries (and then they become perplexed at why they have a youth behaviour and crime problems).

This increasing number of "rules" produces an increasing number of violations of them, and an increasing number of social workers.

This seems part of an increasing centralisation, with the State attempting to control more and more.

It may be noted that the extended family, and closer contact with other members of the tribe, served to establish and enforce rules of behaviour. The breakdown of these has cut people off from such controlling mechanisms - the vacuum being filled by the state


There are some cases where self-improving trends are apparent - Retirement, Health Care. These are largely insurance problems, and the trends will be to reduce the concepts to what is necessary, and to put them on a sounder insurance footing.

Most of the others are likely to grow in terms of the State's involvement and cost: Unemployment (with eventual reduction in the longer term), Long Term Sick, and Problem People.

It is questionable whether improvements will sufficiently balance the increases for the state to be able to finance them. State financing will be a re-occurring problem throughout the early Post Industrial period at least. It is unlikely there will be any political consent to any reduction in these activities, but the continual financing problems (some may take on crisis proportions) are likely to result in activities being cut loose in unforeseen ways. Some possible examples:

These are not necessarily forecasts but examples of what financing constraints may produce.

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