OLD AGE PENSIONS, income re ceived by superannuated employees of a state, municipality or private corpora tion. It is a prominent feature of the general tendency toward the assumption of responsibility on the part of society for the welfare of its individual units, brought about by the evils of modern in dustrialism. Originally based on the principle of individualism, the modern state is more and more becoming recog nized as a social organization, as well as the source of administrative authority.
The first statesman to recognize the responsibility of the state for the welfare of aged workers was Bismarck, who in itiated a system of compulsory state in surance, suggested by Schaeffie. Bis marck realized the powerful impression which was then being made on the masses by the Socialistic doctrines of Lasalle, and introduced this and other elements of paternalism into the government as a check to the growing Socialist move ment.
Old age pensions, based on compulsory insurance, in which the workers them selves are compelled to pay a part of the cost of maintaining the system, the rest being borne by the state and the employ ers, have since been adopted in many other European countries, notably among the coal miners of Austria (in 1889), France (in 1894), Rumania (in 1895), and more generally in Sweden and Bel gium. In the latter country old age
pensions are a part of the system of mutual benefits instituted by the co-oper ative societies, notably in Ghent, where the profits from the co-operative enter prises are partly devoted to the old age pensions fund.
Old age pensions in the United States have been largely limited to the large corporations, especially in the more haz ardous industries, such as in the rail roads and coal mines and the steel foun dries. In many instances this is done through voluntary associations, toward whose funds the corporations contribute the greater portion.