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The Center for Welfare Reform (CVV)

Sweden needs and deserves a new modernisation, a creative adaptation to the age of the information revolution and global proximity. This is a world of opportunities that is opening up before us, and it is we ourselves who will decide whether we take these opportunities or not. This applies not least to the organisation of welfare. The welfare state was not the end point of history, any more than its preconditions – industrial society and the national state. We have to move on, be curious, bold and inventive, re-think and think innovatively on the subject of welfare, find new paths, have the courage to experiment, collect best practices, talk about the new day that is dawning. This is what Timbro’s Center for Welfare Reform, CVV, is meant to be: a welfare policy think tank in a time of change, and a meeting point for dialogue on the opportunities of the future and how to reach them.

Freedom’s ideas
CVV activities combine two essential perspectives. One of them focuses on the emergence of a new reality – the reality of the information revolution and globalisation – calling for new approaches and solutions in welfare policy. The other is a perspective of liberal values, highlighting the importance and potential of freedom’s ideas for the new organisation of welfare. CVV works at the point of intersection between these two perspectives.

A positive message
Our emphasis is more on the new that is emerging than on the old that is crumbling and withering, more on the positive and hope-inspiring side of things than on criticism of the status quo. This precludes neither necessary criticism of the old way of things nor illuminating retrospects. But the more pressing need today seems to be that of bringing out, by means of “best practices”, a positive message on the ideas of freedom and the possibilities of the future.

Open-mindedness the key word
Open-mindedness is the key word of our activity. We have put behind us frustrating antitheses and the belief that there is only one solution to the challenges of the future. In an age of increased mobility and individualisation we can look for a diversity of flexible welfare solutions with plenty of scope for creative interaction between politics, the market and civil society. It is equally important not to be guided by traditional labels of the “left and right” variety but to scan the entire field of politics for ideas showing openness towards the developmental force of the new age and affirming the ideals of the open society.

Working fields
We give priority to four thematic working fields:

  • Our welfare policy heritage
    in which we interest ourselves just as much in the ideas and alternatives which were marginalised by an increasingly exclusive welfare state ideology and in the ideas and solution shaping the welfare state which has now come to the end of the road.
  • The new reality
    in which we try to investigate the consequences of the information revolution and globalisation, not least as regards the erosion of the classical welfare-related functions of the national state and the emergence of new conditions for individual mobility and freedom of choice.
  • Welfare policy ideas of the future
    in which the fundamental ideas of welfare policy – individual liberty, civic power, solidarity and the allocation of responsibility between different “welfare agents” – politics, the market and civil society – are discussed in the light of the changing reality around us.
  • Welfare experiments
    in which attention is made to focus on new trends emerging both in and beyond Sweden. Current experimentation and reform endeavours are analysed and linked to the intellectual debate on the welfare of the future. Here we will be prioritising a number of fields – caring services, schools, welfare experiments in local government – in a concrete investigation of future possibilities.

Our aim is to be an important point of reference for the national debate on welfare policy, both through our own initiatives and through relevant contributions to debates in progress.

Mauricio Rojas
Timbro Executive Vice-President, Associate Professor of Economic History

Centrum för Välfärd efter Välfärdsstaten c/o Timbro
Grev Turegatan 19 Box 5234 10245 Stockholm
Tel: 08-587 898 00 information@cvv.nu