April 29th 2013

The future of the welfare state.

Prof. Dr. Christian Keuschnigg, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna

As part of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the economist Prof. Dr. Christian Keuschnigg was invited by the Entrepreneurial School® in cooperation with Industriellenvereinigung Tirol to present his views on the topic “The future of the welfare state.” Keuschnigg, who is originally from Tyrol, was appointed Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna in June 2012.

At the beginning of his lecture the speaker emphasized the strong position of the welfare state in Austria. “The most important achievement of the welfare state is security,” Keuschnigg said, referring to the citizens’ fundamental need for security. In his opinion the essential responsibilities of the welfare state are social insurance (accident, health, unemployment insurance) and pension insurance as the free market is unable to cope with the relevant complex challenges.

Keuschnigg repeatedly emphasized the importance of education in a welfare state: the higher the educational attainment of the population, the higher the level of employment, and the better educated people are, the less likely they are to be on sick leave, and the higher is their life expectancy. “If people live longer they are able to work longer,” according to Keuschnigg. To put it in a nutshell: the better educated the population, the stronger the welfare state.

The lecture was chaired by MCI’s Rector Dr. Andreas Altmann.