Society for Social Progress (German)

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Translated from an original article in the German language Wikipedia.

The Society for Social Progress e. V. is a German membership organization based in Cologne that grew out of the earlier Society for Social Reform. Hans Hermann Freiherr von Berlepsch, Theodor Lohmann and Robert Bosse were all members, and Verlepsch was a founder. This association was founded in 1901, and was an important and influential social reform organization during the German Empire (which ended in 1918 with the abdication of the Emperor) and the Weimar Republic (1918-1932). Today, the society presents itself as a forum for open, independent discussion of private charity in the field of social policy. Its addresses all areas of social policy and social change including labor markets, social security systems, and more recently European integration.[1] Membership of the society consists of a diverse group from BDA, DGB, associations of voluntary welfare, the German federal states, national government ministries, social security agencies, companies and individual members. The society holds public conferences and runs working groups for its members. In Cologne, its offices are located on the Landau campus of the University of Koblenz-Landau.


The origins of the Society are found during the administration of Bismarck and in the group of social reformers that formed around the Prussian trade minister Hans Hermann Freiherr von Berlepsch, who resigned from the Bismarck government in 1896 in a dispute over labor policy. As an outlet for their ideas, this group took over the journal Soziale Praxis (Social Practice) in 1897. The focus of these and other German social reformers at that time was strongly on workers 'protection and workers' rights. In 1901 the " International Association for Statutory Workers Protection " was founded in Paris by von Berlepsch, and others including Gustav Schmoller and Werner Sombart). That same year the newly founded international organization also established the International Labor Office in Basel, Switzerland. In a later reorganization, that office became the International Labor Organization (ILO), an affiliated organization of the United Nations and headquartered in Geneva.

A German section of the proposed international association was founded earlier in May 1899 and in December 1900 called for the establishment of a new "German Society for Social Reform, which was subsequently recognized as the German section of the international association. (This information is based partly on the report of a police spy present at the founding conference in the collection of sources on the history of German social policy 1867 to 1914. [III. Department: Development and differentiation of social policy since the beginning of the New Course (1890-1904) , Volume 3, worker protection , edited by Wolfgang Ayaß , Darmstadt 2005, no. 137; see. also No. 138. [International Association for Statutory Worker Protection, in: Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon, Volume 9, Leipzig 1907, p. 890.]

The founding meeting took place on January 7, 1901 in Berlin . [the report on the founding meeting in "Soziale Praxis", printed in: Collection of sources for the history of German social policy 1867 to 1914 , III. Department: Expansion and differentiation of social policy since the beginning of the New Course (1890-1904) , Volume 1, Basic Issues in Social Policy , edited by Wolfgang Ayaß, Darmstadt 2016, No. 115.] Ernst Francke became general secretary . He was followed in 1919 by Ludwig Heyde , who was later also editor of the social practice. Especially in the Weimar Republic, the Society for Social Reform became a platform for socio-political interest groups, especially through membership of employers' associations and trade unions. After the transfer of power to the National Socialists, the actual society dissolved in 1933, but the “Office for Social Policy” and the publication of the journal Sociale Praxis continued until 1943.

Ludwig Preller was editor of Soziale Praxis from 1936-1943, and made attempts as early as 1946 to revive the journal. On January 22nd, 1949, the Society for Social Progress e. V. was founded as the official successor to the Society for Social Reform and Ludwig Preller was elected the first chairman. An initial general meeting took place in 1951. An essential characteristic of society - which has not changed to this day - was already back then that all major socio-political interest groups, and in particular, the trade unions and employers' associations, found it to be a forum for their interests. Since 1952 another monthly journal Sozialer Progress. German Review of Social Policy, has been published by Duncker & Humblot.

The Society for Social Progress has had eight chairpersons since its refounding:

• 1949 Ludwig Preller

• 1952 Friedrich Sitzler

• 1957 Klaus von Bismarck

• 1964 Johannes Doehring

• 1980 Gerhard W. Brück

• 1983 Dieter Schewe

• 1999 Frank Schulz-Nieswandt

• 2009 Werner Stuhlmeier


The mission of the Society for Social Progress is to scientifically and proactively examine and independently present social security, health policy, the labor market, industrial relations, gender issues, family policy, social assistance and other aspects of social policy. The association promotes and publishes scientific studies relating to social security systems, employment promotion and social services. In addition, it conducts science-based conferences and organizes public lectures and discussions on current and fundamental problems in social policy.

Annual Meeting Themes

An annual conference is held each autumn. Conference themes of recent events include:

2011: Structural changes in the labor market

2010: Globalization - Crisis - Social Policy

2009: Labor market and unemployment

2008: From the Bismarck tradition to the liberal type? The German welfare state: change or mutation ?

2007: The changing sector of work with people with disabilities

2006: Normative Foundations of the Welfare State - Social Policy Discourses between Justice and Efficiency

2005: Hartz IV (SGB II) and the effects on various socio-political mistakes

2004: The future of long-term care - Perspectives for a reform of long-term care insurance

In addition, the association routinely convenes around three conferences a year. They are sometimes sponsored in cooperation with other social policy institutions, and usually in Berlin.