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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 1999): Welfare State - Overseas

THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN WELFARE: A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT?

M. Rhodes and Y. Mény (editors)
Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998

Explores several dimensions of the current crisis in the welfare state: the failure of current European welfare provision to remedy unemployment, poverty and social exclusion; the extent to which existing systems of social protection are under stress from domestic pressures; how global pressures and constraints are affecting the process of change and limiting options for reform; the problems of reforming Europe's social contract.

THE COMMISSION AS IMAGE - VENUE ENTREPRENEUR IN EU SOCIAL POLICY

B. Wendon
Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 5, no. 2, June 1998, p.339-353

The Commission has experimented with new institutional arrangements to build up a policy-making framework that lessens the influence of member governments. The development of the Social Dialogue, and, to a lesser extent, the Civic Dialogue, has been important in this respect. The Commission has also been reshaping the "image" of EU social policy from one based on social rights to an alternative which emphasizes that social policy contributes to stable economic growth and job creation.

MONETARY UNION AND SOCIAL EUROPE

P. Teague
Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 8, no. 2, May 1998, p.117-137

Member states are at present caught in the unenviable position of finding it difficult to manage national welfare systems yet being unable to launch compensating initiatives at EU level. In one sense, the hard Euro-zone proposal would resolve the tension between market integration and Social Europe by allowing the former to triumph. Obliging member states to control public expenditure and become ultra-competitive would almost inevitably mean huge cut-backs in existing welfare provision. However, across Europe there is still a big political commitment to meshing market and welfare principles. If these forces can tame the excessively deflationary bias of the Maastricht monetary union agenda, they may create a warmer economic climate for reform of welfare and employment systems.

POSTMODERNITY AND WELFARE: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

J. Carter
Social Policy and Administration, vol. 32, no. 2, June 1998, p. 101-115

Paper explores the notion of a postmodern social policy and suggests the debate so far in the UK has seen little more than the establishment of initial positions. There are serious intellectual difficulties in splicing poststructural analysis with a historically structural subject. Equally, definitions of social policy generated within the welfare community may act as barriers to postmodernism. For postmodernity to flourish in welfare, it will have to be taken up by "insiders" and a distinctively welfare-oriented postmodernism will need to be developed.

THEORISING WELFARE: ENLIGHTENMENT AND MODERN SOCIETY

M. O'Brien and S. Penna
London: Sage, 1998

Sets out key theoretical perspectives on the welfare state and the idea of welfare including liberalism, Marxism, neo-liberalism, poststructuralism, political economy, political ecology and postmodernism. Authors show how understandings of welfare are connected to wider perspectives on social change and development, providing a guide to social theories of welfare at the same time as exploring some of the social and political contexts in which those theories have arisen.

THE JUPPÉ PLAN AND THE FUTURE OF THE FRENCH SOCIAL WELFARE SYSTEM

D. Bouget
Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 8, no. 2, May 1998, p. 155-172

Describes the French social welfare system which is inspired by the Bismarkian model. Then moves on to the decisions made as part of the Juppé plan and their implementation: more planned care provision in the health-care sector; a set of family policies geared to the most needy; the introduction of private pensions in a new funded scheme; new mechanisms of funding social security. Finally the consequences of the Juppé plan are discussed: the end of the doctrinal unity of the French system; the economic and financing uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the reforms; and the political confusion which explains why the new left wing Jospin government can carry on with the implementation of the reform.

SWEDISH MODEL REVISITED

B Helgadottir
Public Finance, June 5-11 1998, p.23-25

While some sections of the political spectrum flirt with free-market theories, the majority of Scandinavians have faith in the welfare state and want to keep it. Welfare systems are much leaner than in their heyday, but still more munificent than in most other countries. At the same time the Scandinavian economies are either all in robust shape or well on the road to recovery from recession.

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