Social Welfare Policy: A Safety Net or a Crutch?

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Social Welfare Policy: A Safety Net or a Crutch?


Social Welfare Policy: A Safety Net or a Crutch? Theodoulou Social Welfare Policy Provision of appropriate levels of well-being Safety Nets against poverty Social ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Social Welfare Policy: A Safety Net or a Crutch?

Social Welfare Policy A Safety Net or a Crutch?
  • Theodoulou

Social Welfare Policy
  • Provision of appropriate levels of
    well-beingSafety Nets against poverty
  • Social Welfare Policy programs destined
  • To assist the poor and the working class
  • To redress the gaps in society
  • Levels of expenditure vary according to whether a
    society believes the Gvt. Should be responsible
    (and responsive) to the needs of its citizens

  • Types of welfare state regimes within market
  • Conservative
  • Social Democratic
  • Liberal

Question How should the State react before the
dynamics of the market?
  • Understandings of Welfare
  • Relief ancillary to economic arrangements,
    because of the instability of capitalist
  • Welfare policy regulates labor, integrating
    people within the system and acting as a social
  • Welfare policy should encourage individuals to be

Types of Welfare Policy Solutions
  • Rights services to which individuals are
    entitled as a part of their citizenship
  • Rules specify conditions under which individuals
    are eligible for certain policies
  • Inducements positive or negative, encourage or
    discourage individuals to become subjects of
    specific welfare policies

  • Policies that benefit the poor
  • General Assistance Programs (food, money,
  • Work Assistance
  • Categorical Assistance
  • Policies that benefit the general public
  • Social Insurance (against unemployment)
  • Social Regulation Programs

Approaches Used by Gvts.
  • Preventive (that individuals do not become poor)
  • Alleviate (Assistance to reduce poverty)
  • Punitive (Assumption poverty is the poors
    fault/minimal assistance)
  • Curative attempts to cure causes of poverty
  • Incomes encourages individuals to work for Gvt.

Critics of Welfare Policies
  • Claim Welfare encourages individuals to become
    dependent on government support and remain

Brazil Imitation of the Real Thing
  • Restricted Welfare System
  • Military Rule prevented the country from
    developing a real public welfare system
  • Focus on rapid economic growth and not on social
  • Increasing Gaps
  • Late 1970s, rise of a state-centered movement
    claiming for welfare programs (middle and working
  • Social rights consecrated in the 1988
    ConstitutionInsufficient implementation

Policy Structure
  • About 50 of workers make no contributions to the
  • Fiscal Gaps
  • Series of Programs and services based upon the
    Organic Social Security law promulgated in the
    1930s and changed in the 70s and 90s.
  • November 1998, Social Security Reform (deters
    retirees from going back to work in the public
    sector, reduces or eliminates certain public
    pensions while fostering peoples transferring to
    the private system)
  • In countries as unequal as Brazil, an equal for
    equals policy is impossible to apply (in Brazil,
    universality means exclusion). Targeted policies

Recessive Cycle
  • Economic Recession
  • Huge Public Debt
  • Cuts in public expenditurelack of resources to
    spend in education, health, etc.
  • Brazils industry hit by globalization
  • Policies to attract foreign investments through
  • Many social reformers argue for a strong
    paternalistic state (Danger of authoritarianism)
  • Voluntary Associations

  • Economically, Brazils national debt,
    de-industrialization, and dependency have
  • Socially, the gap (one of the biggest in the
    world) is widening
  • Politically, loss of legitimacy of the system and
  • Lula has brought new hopes, with his goal of
    allowing all Brazilians to have three meals a
    dayWill he be able to achieve even this minimal

Germany Status Maintenance with Minor Cutbacks
  • Before Reunification
  • West Germany Pluralism, Corporatism,
    Decentralization. High welfare provision
    hierarchically organized and distributed
  • East Germany Centralized and Universalistic,
    wide-scale coverage, deficiencies of quality
  • After Reunification organizational uniformity,
    with differences
  • Western social insurance was extended to the
    Eastern States with benefits calculated on the
    basis of their (Eastern) income

Germany, place of Birth of the Welfare State
  • First Statutory Social Insurance System
  • 1970, the Poor Law (basic assistance)
  • Bismarck, 1883, compulsory sickness insurance
  • 1889, Provisions concerning old age and
    invalidity insurance
  • 1923, the Empowering Act (local responsibility/
    employer/employee financing of the system)

  • Under Hitler, welfare policies became restrictive
  • Restrictions continued under the Allies
    occupation till 1947
  • 1945-1949-Reconstruction of the social welfare
    system while integrating war veterans, victims,
    and refugees.
  • 1949 Basic Law settles conditions for social
    welfare policy Social State, inspired in
    Bismarcks welfare state
  • Key elements applied throughout the nation with
    local differences in implementation
  • 1950-69 Ec. Growth and expansion of the welfare
  • 1970s Welfare Reform (expansion)
  • Late 1970s-1980s Economic problems and reduction
    of programs (not as severe as elsewhere)
  • 1990s Problems of reunification

The German System
  • Social Market Economy
  • Welfare policy objectives are
  • Defined and articulated by the federal gvt.
  • Implemented at the local level/increasing role of
    the federal gvt. Since the 1980s (and with
  • Funded by both the state and the private sector

The German System
  • Social Insurance
  • General Assistance program covering income losses
    caused by sickness, unemployment, old age, or
    disability. Semi-autonomous organization
    (employers/unions) locally administered and
    sponsored by the federal gvt.
  • Social Assistance (benefits for those who cannot
    apply for social insurance, calculated according
    to needs)State institutions, benefits for
    refugees, social housing
  • Personal Social Services provided by the states

Criticisms and Problems
  • The welfare system reproduces the inequalities of
    the labor market
  • Reunification brought about a crisis of the
    welfare system (huge unemployment, more
    individuals in need, lack of resources,
    inequality between the West and the East)
  • No roll back of the state

Great Britain 1996, The End of the Welfare
  • Antecedent British Poor Laws (1601)
  • The British Welfare State developed out of the
    belief that every individual has the right to
    support in times of need and emergency.
  • 1942 Beveridge Report social welfare seen as a
    right of citizenship. Expanded notion of liberty.
    Attack against the five giants of modern
    societywant, disease, ignorance, squalor,
  • Three decades of expansion of the Welfare State
  • 1979 Thatchers Structural Cutbacks (limits
    health care benefits for the elder)
  • 1997 New Labours Welfare-to-Work approach.

Main Social Welfare Instruments
  • From WWII to 1979/80
  • Single weekly contribution for cradle-to-grave
    benefits (all-in insurance)
  • Five areas of benefits cash benefits, health
    care, education, housing, personal social
    services (about 70 British received at least one
    cash benefits, and health and education were
    available to everyone)
  • Since 1979, Thatchers drastic erosion of the
    Welfare StatePrivatization (of pensions, health,
    education), weakening of the idea of universal
    accessReplaced with the notion of incentives and

New Labour? Conservatives
  • Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) Welfare-to-Work
    (individuals must demonstrate their will to get
    any available job to continue perceiving the
  • Agencies attempt to match unemployed with jobs
  • Since 2000 Proliferation of Controls (beepers,
    checks, etc)
  • Blairs Green paper (3 types of welfare as a
    channel for pursuing social well being as
    self-interest, as the exercise of authority
    compelling people to pursue the common good, and
    as a mechanism for moral regeneration)
  • Policies are designed nationally and implemented

Shift in the Debate
  • From
  • How much to expect, and how should the State
    provide for its citizens needs
  • To
  • How to make the choices concerning welfare
  • Problem lack of resources to fund a
    comprehensive welfare state (the British welfare
    state looks obsolete in comparison with the
    Swedish or the German)

Japan Different and Unique
  • 1938 National Health Insurance
  • 1944 Employees Pension Insurance
  • OccupationWestern-style welfare reforms (1946
    Daily Life Protection)
  • Symbolic

1960s Prosperity Social Welfare
  • National pension scheme
  • Late 60s movement pro-Welfare State
  • 1973, the First Year of Welfare
  • Dramatic increase in social expenditure during
    the 1970s
  • 1980s Japan looked like Germany
  • Mid 1980s (economic crisis, cutbacks) Development
    of the idea of a Japanese Welfare State
    Reconsider Welfare
  • Complex System Family, Community, Corporation,
    and... The State (the State only supports people
    who are also supported by their relatives)

Mixture of welfare-state principles, insurance,
and individual responsibility
  • Four Main Areas
  • Public Assistance
  • Social Insurance
  • Basic Welfare
  • Public Health
  • Main Actor the Central government bureaucracy
  • Main Problem the aging population

Sweden the Social Democratic Model?
  • Gradualism
  • Early commitment with solidarity and universalism
    since the 18th century (because of the political
    power of the agrarian industry, the increasing
    power of the working class, and the existence of
    a centralized monarchy)
  • The Poor Law (1882)
  • The Pension Act (1913)
  • The National Unemployment Commission (1914)
  • 1932-1976 Social Democratic gvtsWelfare State
    based upon a Keynesian policy
  • 1980s Growing deficit Inflation
  • 1990s Austerity measures (did not undermine the
    structure of the Welfare State, at least not yet)

  • Social Insurance universal (sickness,
    unemployment, disability, old age, long-term
    care). No means-tested
  • Social Assistance Benefits Means-tested (Housing
    and child benefits)
  • Social Services Parental benefits package (12
    months leave at 80 of gross earning, further 180
    days of leave until the child enters primary
    school, up to 60 days per year to face
    emergencies) Daycare

United States
  • Reluctance towards social policy
  • Social welfare policies developed after the 1930s
    by the federal gvt.
  • Roosevelts New Deal? Limited (and always
  • Reason American political culture and values,
    with an emphasis on self-reliance and
  • Poverty is seen as the individuals fault
  • Early 20th century ? punitive approach
  • After 1929 acceptance of the notion that crises
    may produce poverty that are not the poors fault
  • 1935 Social Security Act ? Preventive and

  • Phases
  • 1935 Social Security Act social security and
    unemployment compensation
  • (AFDC) Aid to Families with Dependent Children
  • Post WWII, prosperity suspension of social
  • 1960-8 Kennedy-Johnson ? the Great Society the
    War on Poverty (Medicare, Medicaid, housing
    subsidies, school feeding programs, programs for
    pregnant women, Equal Opportunity Act/curative)
  • 1968 Nixon (Milton Friedman) inexpensive programs
    based on dis/incentives ? Workfare
  • 1980/90s Reagan Bush hostility to welfare.
    Poverty seen as the individuals fault ? punitive
    approach. Welfare seen as the root of all
  • 1996-Clinton, the Personal Responsibility and
    Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act ? End of

  • Since 1996, recipients of welfare are required to
  • AFDC was eliminated and replaced by TANF, limited
    temporary assistance to families
  • States administer funds and programs (no national
    unified programs anymore)
  • Elimination of benefits for immigrants
  • Punitive Incomes approach
  • Different Programs
  • Direct Cash Assistance
  • (Should I include tax discounts here?)
  • In-Kind Assistance Programs
  • Services (health care, childcare, help dealing
    with alcohol or drugs)
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