Martti Muukkonen, ThD, MSS

The Power of Belief in European Welfare-thinking



In the process of European unification it is inevitable that different ‘self-evidences’ of European people will clash to some extent. Therefore it is important to understand why people in different parts of Europe are thinking like they are. This requires knowledge of basic cultural values of the major European blocks. This paper will give an overview of the development of European welfare-thinking from antique to the present re-unification of Europe.

Theoretically the paper utilises theories of Turner&Killian and Berger&Luckman as well as Geertz. All they emphasise the role of value-systems in decision-making processes. Esping-Andersen created his thesis of three welfare-regimes, which is utilised in the second part of the paper. Finally, Polanyi’s thesis of double-movement is useful in analysing the possible future trends that globalisation might cause.

The first part of this paper will shortly examine how the European social thought was born from its Oriental roots and how this Oriental co-operative thinking was combined with Hellene competitive thinking. It is argued that a tension between these models of thinking can be seen through European history and how they exist still in today’s political thought. Further, it is examined how Byzantium gave institutional models to Western Church and how these models form the basis of Western institutional thinking.

The second part analyses European welfare-regimes from religious point of view. It shows how social doctrines of various churches were implemented in Continental (Catholic), Nordic (Lutheran) and Anglo-Saxon (Anglican-Calvinist) welfare models.

The third part focuses on the present-day re-unification of Europe as well as globalisation. It discusses the trends and mechanisms how this unification is taking place and which kinds of counter-movements it will awake.