For the international comparison of societies a system for continuous observation is proposed, based on a discussion of moral values in social philosophy, which results in eight criteria of performance of societies in the following living conditions: Wealth and growth; ecological sustainability; innovation; social security by supporting benefits in the case of risk and preventive by investments in education; appreciation of peculiarities (women friendliness and migrants friendliness); equality of are sources and rights; social integration; autonomy (“freedom of choice and capabilities”). In our approach we do not assume a uniform pathway of modernization in the direction of growth, participation and inclusion, but differentiate in extension of the “three worlds of welfare capitalism” of Esping-Andersen (1990) (at least) five different institutional pathways of modernization: The social democratic (universalistic) path, the economically liberal path, the status-conserving path, the familistic path and the development of the group of post-socialist countries, which are in a process of differentiating. We compare 36 countries including all members of the EU and the anglo-saxon countries as well as Japan. For the analysis of social structures the following models of social positioning are considered: Marx, Weber, Roemer/Wright; social strata; occupational positions, Goldthorpes model; Bourdieu, Vester, Hradil. As fields of application are discussed: Service societies and employment, education; wealth, income, property and poverty; social mobility; social inequalities between women and men; demographic structure and forms of living; life styles; welfare regimes and social security; individualization and its counter-movements; summarizing comparison of the living conditions in different countries and welfare regimes.