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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/63

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INVALID INSURANCE

receive invalid pensions on the principle of the old-age pensions, i.e. without having to make payments towards them. During the World War money became easier, and expense is consequently not so carefully considered now as it was formerly, even though it may weigh heavily enough on an already strained budget. At the same time the trend of opinion is more and more towards socialism, even among people who continue to cling to individualism. It might be expected, therefore, that development in this direction would soon appear in the Danish old-age pensions act.

Such an amendment would place Denmark on a level with Australia. It is interesting to note that a system of old-age pensions similar to the Danish was adopted in New Zealand in 1898; but the rates there were fixed, as the intention was to grant an annual income of a specified amount. The age limit for males is sixty-five instead of sixty. This example was followed later in Australia, where an act was passed entitling any person in the whole commonwealth, upon certain conditions, to an old-age pension from the age of sixty-five and to an invalid annuity from the age of sixteen. From Australia the principle spread to England, where, in 1908, old-age pensions were introduced for all persons over seventy whose incomes did not exceed a certain sum per annum and who complied with certain rules. In England the great National Insurance Act of 1911, which was a radical departure from all inherited ideas of social policy, supplemented the pension act of 1908 by introducing a compulsory insurance, with contributions to the premiums by the state and the employer, designed to give aid in cases of sickness, permanent invalidism and unemployment. To this extent the social policy of England has diverged from that of Denmark; but Denmark may certainly pride herself on having been the model for England, though in a roundabout way with Australia as an intermediary.