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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2001): Welfare State - Overseas

HOW SOCIAL IS SOCIAL POLICY? FISCAL AND MARKET DISCOURSE IN NORTH AMERICAN WELFARE STATES

M. J. Prince

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 35, 2001, p. 2-13

Long regarded as a "laggard" among welfare states in advanced industrial countries, the USA may be emerging as a "leader" in the reformation of social programmes and the relationship between government, the market economy and civil society. Aspects of the American experience of welfare reform over the past 20 years that are acting as a model for the UK include an increased emphasis on personal responsibility, partnerships between the state and the voluntary sector, tax credits for the working poor, and the lowering or tightening of various social insurance programme benefits. A central goal of social policy is changing benefits and programmes to promote a mobile labour force and to a more work-ready group of welfare clients for low wage employment.

NEW GOVERNMENT'S SOCIAL POLICIES: ONE YEAR ON

Anon

European Industrial Relations Review, no. 326, 2001, p. 28-31

The right wing government which came to power in Austria in early 2000 announced its intention to make sweeping changes in social policy, concentrating on reducing employer social insurance contributions, a "better targeting" of social welfare provision, pension reform and an extension of parental leave benefit. Article assesses the achievements of the government's first year in office.

NEW LABOUR, OLD FUNCTIONALISM: THE UNDERLYING CONTRADICTIONS OF WELFARE REFORM IN THE US AND UK

S. Prideaux

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 35, 2001, p. 85-115

Paper illustrates the similarities of thought behind the policies of New Labour and those of the early American functionalists and their modern counterparts. There are three main points of comparison. There is a shared belief in the cohesive impetus of realistic "aspiration" in a stratified society. There is a shared desire to balance individual rights with communal responsibilities. Finally, there is a common concern about the perceived problem of the underclass and how to deal with it. On the basis that these interrelated topics influenced social policy through the intensity of debate around them, article goes on to set the resultant American and British models of workfare alongside the proposed New Deals of New Labour. The comparison allows the article to discuss the failings of such authoritarian welfare programmes in the light of modern capitalism.