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date: 14 December 2019

(p. xxvi) Note on the Jacket Illustration

(p. xxvi) Note on the Jacket Illustration

In order to highlight the comparative, international nature of this volume's essays, we wished to illustrate the book jacket with symbols of welfare states from all over the world. The welfare state has been little celebrated on most national icons such as flags, state seals, coins and bank notes, but many nations have issued postage stamps that honour welfare state founders or champion social policies and ideals. This may have to do with the fact that in many countries the post office once served as a state bank, making pension and unemployment payments and issuing revenue stamps to record the payment of contributions. Perhaps tellingly, most of the postal stamps we found with welfare state themes were special commemorative stamps: even in countries whose welfare states developed hand in hand with nationhood—Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Uruguay—welfare motifs were not among the core national icons selected for regular issue stamps.

While hunting for stamps to adorn the book jacket, I noticed that the welfare motifs used fall into five distinct categories, roughly corresponding to the types of protagonists in welfare state development. International welfare motifs have appeared on many nations' stamps, often in recognition of some event, like the World Social Summit in Copenhagen in 1995, or a United Nations special observance, such as the International Women's Year, the Year of Older Persons, or the Year for the Eradication of Poverty. The United Nations also issues its own postal stamps with these themes, as do the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The latter has been especially successful in popularizing its yearly health themes, and its members also tend to issue their own stamps for the WHO's yearly campaigns.

Stamps celebrating the anniversaries of welfare state institutions such as social insurance and pension insurance began to appear after World War II. Many nations have issued commemorative stamps in honour of the founders and architects of their welfare states. There are German stamps depicting Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, and Uruguayan ones of President José Batlle y Ordoñez, both nineteenth‐century nation builders and pioneers of the welfare state—though Batlle's role is now largely forgotten outside of Latin America (cf. Mesa‐Lago 1978: 70–112; Papadopulos 1992; see chapter 44). Of the twentieth‐century welfare state founders and reformers, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Secretary of Labour, Frances Perkins, are both honoured on American stamps. And of the post‐World War II reformers and founders, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer appears on German stamps, Prime Minister (p. xxvii) Einar Gerhardsen on Norwegian ones, and Tommy Douglas, who founded the Canadian health system, is honoured on Canadian stamps. Interestingly, though we associate the welfare state with these leaders, many of them are also known for nation building or post‐World War II economic reconstruction, and the stamps—with the exception of a single Roosevelt stamp—do not specifically recognize their contributions to social policy. Notably missing from the line‐up of founders' stamps are William Beveridge—recognized as the father of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom—and New Zealand's first Labour Party Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, who introduced a comprehensive cradle‐to‐grave welfare state in the 1930s, which served as inspiration for the post‐war welfare state reform on the other side of the world (ILO 1949).

Examples of other individuals whose work has had far‐reaching consequences for welfare state cultures include the German protestant minister, Johann Hinrich Wichern; reformist doctors like Arvo Ylppö, who founded child care clinics in Finland, and Julius Tandler, who introduced industrial hygiene in Austria; agitators for social reform like the unionist Ferdinand Hanusch and the Catholic reformer Karl Freiherr von Vogelsang in Austria; and the American unionist Samuel Gompers, who was instrumental in setting up the ILO. Most of these figures are recognized only in the nations where they worked, but there are a number of Catholic heroes of social welfare, like the Albanian nun, Mother Theresa, who are honoured on stamps around the world.

Non‐state instruments of social policy comprise the fifth and most varied category of postage stamp motifs that I identified. There are stamps that pay tribute to children's clinics, hospitals, medical associations, nurses, accident prevention and protection measures, and, of course, the International and national Red Cross. In Finland, even day‐care centre anniversaries, women's support groups, and a novel have commemorative stamps. (The novel is Väinö Linna's trilogy Under the North Star (1959–62 [2001–3]), which helped set the stage for the introduction and acceptance of a Scandinavian type welfare state in Finland). In China, where near‐universal health insurance is now being introduced, there is a series of stamps depicting the barefoot itinerant doctors who have long served the rural poor. Another series indirectly highlights China's default policy of individual savings in lieu of a comprehensive pension system: these stamps celebrate the one‐child family planning policy, which has led to an ageing population that can no longer rely on traditional means—family—but has an unbelievably high savings rate that is 50 per cent of GDP. Public awareness campaigns have also made use of postage stamps to call attention to social and health issues such as child and youth welfare, AIDS, cancer, polio, and tuberculosis. Controlling the spread of tuberculosis was one of the first grand successes of public health, and the theme appears frequently on stamps from various countries, but for some reason it completely dominates Finnish stamps between 1946 and the mid 1970s.

In comparing stamps from different nations, I also noticed that they reflected some of the major regional differences in welfare state cultures. Education and housing are prevalent stamp themes in Southeast Asia and China, where social (p. xxviii) policies emphasize these aspects of welfare more than in twentieth‐century Western welfare states (Rieger and Leibfried 2003: 255 ff.). Since the 1990s, the countries of Eastern Europe have produced far fewer welfare state commemorative stamps than any other region of the world, perhaps because welfare provision was part of the communist system that these countries rejected and they have not had time to reconstruct (but see Chapter 46). One does, in fact, find stamps celebrating a return to pre‐communist social insurance systems in some Eastern European countries (e.g. Lithuania, 2006). In Latin America and Southern Europe, as well as parts of Eastern Europe, the stamps frequently depict Saint John Bosco or other Catholic Saints who were known for their work with the underprivileged and epitomized the Church's formal and informal contributions to national welfare states. Scandinavia's stamps have a strong focus on the provision of health and other services, whereas stamps from continental Western Europe are more likely to focus on welfare state institutions and funds and on their founders. Worker protection and industrial hygiene was a starting point for many countries' welfare states, and, accordingly, seems to be a common early theme for stamps around the world. Regional treatments of more recently recognized welfare state issues like gender, race, age, or other types of discrimination that might produce unequal life chances are, however, quite varied.

Historically, relations between nation states have played a significant role in the development of many welfare states, and this is also evident in some of the stamps. Both Switzerland and tiny Liechtenstein issued commemorative stamps for the fifty‐year anniversary of their pension insurance systems (AHV), as Liechtenstein had adopted it from the Swiss. Uruguay, with its large population of Italian immigrants, has a commemorative stamp for the Ente Nazionale Assistenza Sociale, an Italian welfare programme for expatriots around the world. Ireland honoured the centennial of the founding of its pension system—in Britain—with a commemorative stamp in 2008. This created some controversy in Britain, where the centennial was not similarly recognized, and there were outcries of discrimination from the Welsh community, as the founder of the pension system, Prime Minister Lloyd George, was a Welsh statesman. We might note, however, that the British postal system has generally done little to honour the founding of its model welfare state, with the exception of a four‐stamp series issued to celebrate the fifty‐year anniversary of the National Health Service in 1998 (a 50 pence commemorative coin was also issued for the occasion). Neither William Beveridge, who designed the system, nor Aneurin Bevan—another Welshman—who insured its enactment, are acknowledged with their own stamps. (They are, however, included on a couple of privately issued covers designed to accompany the 1998 NHS stamps.)

A number of public‐awareness and health campaigns in the Americas have involved continent‐wide actions, wherein the participating nations issue their own stamps around themes such as ‘the fight against poverty’, ‘education for all’, and the ‘campaign against hunger’. Though the European Union plays a significant role in its member states' welfare policies (see Chapter 23) and might well benefit from public awareness of that role, none of the member states have issued stamps that attest it and the EU itself is not authorized to issue stamps.

(p. xxix) My brief sojourn in the world of stamps revealed a colourful, international array of welfare state themes and icons—too many to be included in the jumble portrayed on the book jacket of this Handbook. Stamps with such themes appear to have been on the increase since the 1960s—an increase that, ironically, has continued uninterrupted through the 1990s and 2000s, a period when welfare state expansion in most regions stopped and threats of retrenchment dominated political rhetoric (see Chapter 38). During this period, postal services in some countries were privatized, perhaps weakening the role of stamp imagery as a statement of national sentiment. And yet, the societal consensus that built the effective welfare states of the 1950s and 1960s is still honoured, and the ills of hunger, poverty, discrimination, lack of education, inadequate housing, and ageing societies are maintained in the public eye by the images chosen for postage stamps.