Open main menu

Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/58

This page has been validated.

along the line of greater concentration, as, for example, by placing all risks in one or two public insurance institutions only; or it may consist in increasing the amount of compensation in view of the decreased value of money. In general, however, the system has been perfected, and certain problems have been solved in a manner satisfactory to the lower classes of the population.

Development of Old-Age Pensions

While in this branch of social insurance there is no great divergence from the German system, although a considerably wider scope has been given to private initiative, in the matter of old-age pensions, on the other hand, a quite different arrangement is to be observed.

The question of voluntary old-age pensions has been under consideration in Denmark for many years. The Workmen's Commission of 1875 proposed that the state should establish an old-age pension fund for the poor. When the matter was debated, a majority was in favour of making it a voluntary fund, to which the state and the municipality should contribute sums equal to the contributions of the insured, but not exceeding 20 kroner per annum per capita; and for certain workers (servants, factory hands, and apprentices) between the ages of fifteen and twenty, employers should make certain payments. A minority, on the other hand, insisted upon a full compulsory insurance system. In 1880-1881 there was discussed in the Folketing a private bill which was closely connected with this subject and which proposed that a certain amount of insurance should be compulsory for all persons between the ages of fifteen and twenty-two, and that further voluntary insurance should also be allowed; also that members of the working class between the ages of twenty-two and forty-two should receive allowances from the state and the municipality to aid them in the purchase of an annuity payable at the age of sixty. The bill, however, did not meet with general approval. Moreover, a proposal