Capitalism, market economy, non market economy and welfare state

Don't forget :

In your presentation

You must build a complete ARGUMENT in order to answer the question :


What is the main characteristic of the economic system in the country you study ?


  • Affirm / give the main idea
  • Explain
  • Illustrate

Joseph E. Stiglitz
Joseph E. Stiglitz

You can read all or only part of the academic article below, which is written by a famous economist in june 2017. Joseph Stiglitz is Senior Fellow and Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute and a professor at Columbia University. A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979), he is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former member and chairman of the (US president’s) Council of Economic Advisers.

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Key words

market: marché

burden: charges, poids

welfare state: État providence

individual responsibility: responsabilité individuelle

social solidarity: solidarité sociale

social contributions: cotisations sociales

taxes: impôts


social incomes = benefits = allowances = revenus sociaux, allocations

disintegration: exclusion

shortcoming: lacune, aspect négatif

market failures: échecs du marché

pervasive: omniprésent

well-being: bien-être

unemployment: chômage

retirement: retraite

risk of inflation: risque d'inflation

efficiency: efficacité

benefit: revenu social (de transfert)

GDP: Gross Domestic Product: PIB


supply: offre

demand: demande

substandard housing: logement de basse qualilté

basic human right: droits humains minimaux

equalitarianism: égalitarisme

goods: biens

incomes: revenus

concern: problème, préoccupation, souci

behavior: comportement

outcomes: résultats

life expectancy: espérance de vie

social protection: protection sociale

retirement insurance: assurance vieillesse

disability: incapacité, handicap

health insurance: assurance santé


ability: capacité

willingness: volonté

investment: investissement

expenditures: dépenses

loans: crédits, emprunts


cross-generational risk sharing: partage des risques intergénérationnel

consumption: consommation

working-age people: personnes en âge de travailler

community: communauté

premise: prémisse, situation initiale

care: soin

reciprocity: réciprocité

ethical norms: normes éthiques

law: loi

rules: règles

beliefs: croyances

improve: améliorer

selfishness: égoïsme

neoliberalism: néolibéralisme

evidence, proof: preuve

profit: profit

greed: cupidité

discrimination: discrimination

social justice: justice sociale

life cycle: cycle de vie

health care: couverture maladie


part A

  • what do the advocates of the welfare state believe about markets?
  • Give some practical examples.
  • what would be the consequence in your real life if the markets only manage the health or unemployment insurance?
  • what shortcomings would it imply for the society? What about childdren? Elderlies? Disabled people?
  • Look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • Do you rather think that individual responsibility (make savings, anticipate future spendings...) is more efficient than the welfare state (coun on benefits, that are financed by taxes and social contributions)?
  • Explain your point of view

part B

  • Look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • write a list of the 6 critics of the welfare state
  • sum up each one of them with one sentence
  • choose one you agree with
  • Explain, illustrate

part C

  • Look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • When has the welfare state been created?
  • why?
  • what has been the main theat to the welfare state since the eighties?
  • what could be the "supply-side reforms" the author writes about in the article?
  • how did inequalities evolve since the eighties?

part D

  • Look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • have changes in the world increased the need to rebuild the welfare state?
  • Why?
  • how did inequalities evolve since the eighties?
  • how did families change? What effects on the protection of individuals?
  • why does the author think that the increasing power of firms has negative effects on the bargaining power of people?

part E

  • What is the main goal of the 21st century welfare state according to the author?
  • How would you describe the "corporate interests" mentionned by the author?
  • Could you find examples of market power? What's wrong with it?
  • Is the modern welfare state just a safety net?
  • Summarize the last paragraph (from "A central "income and wealth")


part F

  • List the different deprivations mentionned by the author
  • What is the welfare state supposed to do with such deprivations?
  • look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • How are you supposed to finance your income when you're old and retired, according to that point of you?
  • What could be wrong with that?

part G

  • Look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • "parents may not work as hard knowing that the state will provide some support (thanks to the welfare state)": what are the pros ands cons of such an idea?

part H

  • Look up the definition of "neoliberalism".
  • What could the welfare state for unemployed people?
  • What should the welfare do even for full time workers?