Poverty in Denmark? Denmark is a country in which “few have too much and fewer too little.” It continues to serve as an admirable example of an effective welfare state. As of late, Denmark’s welfare system is undergoing substantial changes which need to be addressed. Recently, a report by Eurostat showed that Danes who were considered ‘Persons severely materially deprived’ nearly doubled from 2.0 to 3.7 percent from 2008-2015.
Traditionally, the country’s philosophy has been the socialistic idea that the state has the responsibility to ensure the necessary material framework for living a reasonable life for all its population. However, in recent years, the country’s model has fallen short of this goal and poverty in Denmark is on the rise.
In the words of Per Shulz Jørgensen, leader of Denmark’s Alternative Welfare Commission, “the welfare society is not living up to its own principles– inequality has increased, poverty has returned.”
Poverty in Denmark has increased due to unrecognized change within society. It will inevitably continue to rise if current trends remain unchanged and unaddressed.
Why is poverty in Denmark rising with a welfare system that purports to ensure that “all citizens have equal rights to social security”?
Many Danish people insist that solidarity is still the main driving principle behind the country’s welfare system. However, the reality that confronts the country today suggests otherwise. Current welfare policies amount to an essentially brand new type of system, and it operates on different principles than Danish society is ready to admit.
When breaking it down on paper, current welfare policies live up to the principle of providing graciously for the social welfare of all. However, in actual practice, the policies do not amount to a substantive welfare system.
The issue is there is a disconnect between national welfare and substantive welfare within Denmark. It creates a fundamentally new type of welfare system. In turn, a separate type of disconnect is formed. Danish people still believe that the system operates in accordance with its founding values of solidarity and universal welfare. All responsibility of providing for the needy ends up landing in the state without its people even realizing.
The ideological transformation and the shortcomings of the current system must first and foremost be recognized to help ameliorate the true underlying problems within the country.
Denmark has a slew of reasons to rightfully claim its place as one of the most progressive and successful nations in the world. Yet it seems that this state of success has produced a sort of “happiest nation complacency” that threatens the country’s elegant and sought after way of living. Denmark must openly acknowledge the newly sprung welfare state in order to decrease the threat of the poor and marginalized part of the population facing neglect.
– Keaton McCalla