Welfare state

The welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, public responsibility for citizens unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. Sociologist T. H. Marshall described the modern welfare state as a distinctive combination of democracy and capitalism; as a type of mixed economy, the welfare state funds the governmental institutions for healthcare and education along with direct benefits given to individual citizens. Modern welfare states include Germany, France and the Netherlands, as well as the Nordic countries, which employ a system known as the Nordic model; the German term sozialstaat has been used since 1870 to describe state support programs devised by German sozialpolitiker and implemented as part of Bismarck's conservative reforms. In Germany, the term wohlfahrtsstaat, a direct translation of the English "welfare state", is used to describe Sweden's social insurance arrangements.

The literal English equivalent "social state" did not catch on in Anglophone countries. However, during the Second World War, Anglican Archbishop William Temple, author of the book Christianity and the Social Order, popularized the concept using the phrase "welfare state". Bishop Temple's use of "welfare state" has been connected to Benjamin Disraeli's 1845 novel Sybil: or the Two Nations, where he writes "power has only one duty — to secure the social welfare of the PEOPLE". At the time he wrote Sybil, Disraeli belonged to Young England, a conservative group of youthful Tories who disagreed with how the Whigs dealt with the conditions of the industrial poor. Members of Young England attempted to garner support among the privileged classes to assist the less fortunate and to recognize the dignity of labor that they imagined had characterized England during the Feudal Middle Ages; the Swedish welfare state is called folkhemmet and goes back to the 1936 compromise, as well as to another important contract made in 1938 between Swedish trade unions and large corporations.

Though the country is rated comparably economically free, Sweden's mixed economy remains influenced by the legal framework and continual renegotiations of union contracts, a government-directed and municipality-administered system of social security, a system of universal health care, run by the more specialized and in theory more politically isolated county councils of Sweden. The Italian term stato sociale and the Turkish term sosyal devlet reproduces the original German term. In French, the concept is expressed as l'État-providence. Spanish and many other languages employ an analogous term: estado del bienestar – "state of well-being". In Portuguese, two similar phrases exist: estado de bem-estar social, which means "state of social well-being", estado de providência – "providing state", denoting the state's mission to ensure the basic well-being of the citizenry. In Brazil the concept is referred to as previdência social, or "social providence". Modern welfare programs are chiefly distinguished from earlier forms of poverty relief by their universal, comprehensive character.

The institution of social insurance in Germany under Bismarck was an influential example. Some schemes were based in the development of autonomous, mutualist provision of benefits. Others were founded on state provision. In a influential essay, "Citizenship and Social Class", British sociologist T. H. Marshall identified modern welfare states as a distinctive combination of democracy and capitalism, arguing that citizenship must encompass access to social, as well as to political and civil rights. Examples of such states are Germany, all of the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, France and New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the 1930s. Since that time, the term welfare state applies only to states where social rights are accompanied by civil and political rights. Changed attitudes in reaction to the worldwide Great Depression, which brought unemployment and misery to millions, were instrumental in the move to the welfare state in many countries. During the Great Depression, the welfare state was seen as a "middle way" between the extremes of communism on the left and unregulated laissez-faire capitalism on the right.

In the period following World War II, some countries in Western Europe moved from partial or selective provision of social services to comprehensive "cradle-to-grave" coverage of the population. Other Western European states did not, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and France; the activities of present-day welfare states extend to the provision of both cash welfare benefits and in-kind welfare services. Through these provisions, welfare states can affect the distribution of wellbeing and personal autonomy among their citizens, as well as influencing how their citizens consume and how they spend their time. Emperor Ashoka of India put forward his idea of a welfare state in the 3rd century BCE, he envisioned his dharma as not just a collection of high-sounding phrases. He consciously tried to adopt it as a matter of state policy, it was a new ideal of kingship. Ashoka forbade the killing of many animals. Since he wanted to conquer the world through love and faith, he sent many missi

Thanaleng railway station

Thanaleng railway station known as Dongphosy Station, is a railway station in Dongphosy village, Hadxayfong district, Vientiane Prefecture, Laos. It is located 20 km east of the Lao capital city of Vientiane and 4 km north of the border between Laos and Thailand along the Mekong River; the station opened on March 5, 2009, becoming part of the first international railway link serving Laos. Intended for use as a passenger station, Lao officials have stated their intention to convert it to a rail freight terminal to provide a low-cost alternative to road freight, the main mode of transport for goods entering Thailand; the station provides a connection between Vientiane and the capital cities of three other ASEAN nations, several major Southeast Asian ports. On March 20, 2004, an agreement between the Thai and Lao governments was signed to extend the State Railway of Thailand's Northeastern Line from Nong Khai to Thanaleng, a town on the opposite side of the Mekong in Laos; the Thai government agreed to finance the line through a combination of loan.

The estimated cost of the Nong Khai–Thanaleng line was US$6.2 million, of which 70% was financed by Thai loans. Construction formally began on January 19, 2007, test trains began running on July 4, 2008. Formal inauguration occurred on March 5, 2009. Thanaleng station is the only station of the Bangkok–Thanaleng rail route on the Lao side of the border. On February 22, 2006, after the conclusion of a trilateral agreement between Thailand and France, the French Development Agency announced that it had approved funding for a second phase of the Thanaleng railway—an extension to Vientiane; the cost of this second phase was estimated at $13.2 million, including the cost of feasibility studies and equipment. A $50 million loan was reportedly received from the Thai government for the extension. Construction was slated to begin in December 2010, Lao railway officials had confirmed as late as September 2010 that plans would go ahead; the extension, which would have taken an estimated three years to complete, would have stretched 9 km from Thanaleng to a new main station in Khamsavat village in Vientiane's Xaysettha district, 4 km away from That Luang Temple.

In November 2010, however and Thai officials confirmed that their joint extension project had been scrapped in favor of a new line supported by the governments of Thailand and China, which would pass through Laos. The project, which would link Nong Khai with the Chinese city of Kunming, would involve the construction of a new bridge across the Mekong, closer to Vientiane. After reviewing the project, Lao officials decided that Thanaleng station would be converted into a terminal for freight trains crossing over the Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge; the Laotian section will be opened in 2021. Thanaleng railway station is in a somewhat isolated area southeast of Vientiane, in Dongphosy village. Travellers arriving at the station must arrange their own travel onward into Vientiane, or use tuk-tuks or buses that may be stationed there to await travellers. A transfer counter now operates at the station, where passengers requiring transfer into Vientiane pay a flat rate for transportation into the city, by tuk-tuk or minivan.

Lao tourist visas are available on arrival at Thanaleng. Entry and exit fees are collected at the station upon disembarking; as of September 2010, an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 passengers were using the Nong Khai–Thanaleng train daily. Trains consist of each carrying up to 80 passengers. Tickets onward to Bangkok may be purchased at the station. Local No. 913/914 Nong Khai- Thanaleng- Nong Khai Local No. 917/918 Nong Khai- Thanaleng- Nong Khai Transport in Laos Kunming–Singapore Railway References Thai-Laos Rail Link, Thailand. VideoTrain crossing the 1st Friendship Bridge Thanaleng Station


Forze is a Delft University of Technology's student team specialised in hydrogen electric racing. It has built 8 hydrogen fuel cell racing vehicles; the team's offices and workshops are located in the D:DREAM hall on the campus of the Delft University of Technology. In this monumental post-war factory hall, designed by architect Dirk Roosenburg, all TU Delft's teams, called Dream Teams, are located. In 2007 the team began building go-karts with a hydrogen-electric drivetrain. With these vehicles they participated in the Formula Zero competition, hence the name ForZe. After five years the first full-size hydrogen race car was built. Another three years the project of the Forze VII began; this became the first hydrogen-electric racecar to participate in an official race against fossil-fueled vehicles. The latest iteration, the Forze VIII, was the first hydrogen-electric racecar to finish in a race against petrol powered cars. Over the coming years the team wants to develop its cars in such a way that they can compete in a Le Mans Prototype endurance series.

In a conventional road car, the energy, stored in fuel is converted to mechanical energy, using the principle of combustion. The cars that are built by Forze utilize a different concept; the hydrogen fuel cell system inside the vehicles converts the energy stored in hydrogen to electric energy. This means that the fuel cell system can be used to power an electric drive train with hydrogen as a so-called alternative fuel; the efficiency of the fuel conversion can be about two to three times higher than a conventional combustion engine. The most obvious differences of hydrogen-electric vehicles compared to their battery-electric relatives is the time required to recharge or refill, the driving range. Hydrogen tanks can be refilled within minutes whereas batteries take several hours to recharge; this makes hydrogen-electric propulsion ideal for applications where non-stop operation and/or a long driving range is required. The mission of Forze is to promote fuel cell technology by educating their own team members, but the general public and to inspire industries to use hydrogen technology.

By designing and building their own high performance hydrogen race cars, the potential and application of hydrogen can be demonstrated. Forze is still the only student team worldwide that uses high power automotive fuel cells; the team started competing in the 2008 Formula Zero Championship, the world's first hydrogen fuel cell championship. Given the importance of the upcoming Hydrogen economy and considering climate change and oil related problems, the project draws a lot of attention from international media; the first season was limited to one event in the inner city of Rotterdam next to the Erasmus Bridge. The second season consisted of a separate Grand Prix in the city center of Turin; the third season again only had one race, held the center of The Hague. The Formula Zero competition did not prove to grow into what it promised to be during the first years; the team moved on to the Formula Student competition. The Forze IV and V vehicles were purpose built for this competition. To this day, Forze is still the only student team.

After competing in the Formula Student race twice, Forze made a big step towards the professional racing world. The next car, the Forze VI, became world's first full-size race car powered by hydrogen. Due to the lack of a FIA license for the Forze VI, registering for official races was difficult, the car did not compete in any FIA backed competitions. To avoid this problem in the latest iteration of the Forze lineup, the Forze VII, the team bought a FIA licensed LMP3-monocoque from ADESS AG. With it, the team built the first hydrogen race car to compete against fossil fueled combustion vehicles in an official race; the Forze VII is Forze's latest model and competed in the Supercar Challenge 2017 during the Gamma Racing Days on TT Circuit Assen. In the 45 minute race, the Forze VII set the third fastest laptime in the Sports division, showing its potential. Though, the hydrogen-electric race car was not able to drive the full race as it only had fuel on board for 30 minutes. One year the Forze VIII drove the full 60 minute race at the Supercar Challenge 2018 during the Gamma Racing Days on TT Circuit Assen.

This was a world first. The team made several official and unofficial world records attempts to beat the FIA world land speed record for hydrogen powered fuel cell cars under 500 kg on the 1/8th mile. On 3 October 2010 the team tried to break the world record held by the Formula Zero Mark II at 11.2 seconds. This attempt took place on the island of Aruba on the Palo Marga International Raceway Park. Due to heavy rain part of the island flooded and the attempt was pushed to 4 October. In a much smaller time frame with little time to prepare the vehicle for racing, the team managed to set a time of 9.77 seconds. On 16 August 2011, the team organized an official attempt on the Princess Beatrixlaan in the center of The Hague. With the help of the Dutch national autosport federation a licensed track to FIA standards was put up; the Forze IV hydrogen vehicle drove a time of 10.45 seconds that day. After several months the FIA ruled that this measured time was not an official land speed record because of an error in the documents submitted by KNAF to the FIA.

In May 2015, the team took the Forze VI to the Nürburgring Norschleife. With ex-formula 1 driver Jan Lammers they broke the fuel cell lap record by over a minute, owned by the Nissan FCV X-Trail concept. Lammers accomplished a time of 10:42.58. This time still stands as the fastest fuel cell laptime today