The welfare systems established before or shortly after the Second World War are presently on trial. Changes of strategy appear to be as necessary as they did in Sweden in 1913, but the circumstances are definitely different. One crucial difference is that since 1913 the State has delivered solemn promises which are intended to materialize a life-time from now, but life-times tend to grow longer with each year that passes! The Swedish pension reform of 1913 was overdue, but the next one may prove harder to achieve. Those promises cannot be withdrawn. They form a major element in the present situation, perhaps the one that will prove most fatal to the future of the welfare state and its elderly.