Globalizing Welfare
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Globalizing Welfare

An Evolving Asian-European Dialogue

Edited by Stein Kuhnle, Per Selle and Sven E.O. Hort

From the welfare state’s origins in Europe, the idea of human welfare being organized through a civilized, institutionalized and uncorrupt state has caught the imagination of social activists and policy-makers around the world. This is particularly influential where rapid social development is taking place amidst growing social and gender inequality. This book reflects on the growing academic and political interest in global social policy and ‘globalizing welfare’, and pays particular attention to developments in Northern European and North-East Asian countries.
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Chapter 13: Changing normative principles of social justice in the Norwegian pension system

Rune Ervik, Nanna Kildal, Stein Kuhnle and Tord Skogedal Lindén


The chapter gives a historical account of the development of the Norwegian welfare state, by delineating the evolvement of the public pension system, and the role of normative ideas of justice and fairness in that process. The authors address the following questions: (1) Which principles of justice influenced the pension discourse historically and how did the discourse contribute to change the public pension institution? (2) How does the recent pension reform (in 2011) embed changes in justice principles? They discuss these questions based on a qualitative historical analysis of local and national public documents and secondary literature. Their historical account shows that the normative principles of universalism, reciprocity and targeting have been important in all phases of the development of the Norwegian pension system. However, the relative importance of these has varied. Moreover, the authors argue that the pension reform implemented in 2011 moves the system towards reciprocity and weakens its universal character.

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