Although contemporary comparative welfare state research has advanced our knowledge of how welfare states respond to exogenous and endogenous pressures, the nature and implications of these pressures themselves on post-industrial societies remains somewhat unknown. In the research literature phenomena such as globalization, Europeanization, demographics, individualization and changing labour markets are often claimed to put considerable pressure on welfare states. We analyse which of the alleged pressures are real “crises” or “challenges” to welfare states and which pressures should only be considered as “controversies”—phenomena whose impacts are nonsignificant, ambiguous, or have not been asserted. We suggest that pressures on post-industrial societies may not, as is commonly believed, be countered with retrenchment and restructuring of welfare states. In fact, some pressures seem to call for more rather than less welfare state.