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

ECONOMIC CRISIS AND SOCIAL POLICY REFORMS IN KOREA

S. Kwon

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 10, 2001, p. 97-106

Paper aims to examine the effects of the 1999 economic crisis on social development and the role of public policy in mitigating the problems caused by the crisis. The economic crisis hit vulnerable groups harder, increased the proportion of part-time and casual workers and reversed the trend of steady improvement in income distribution. The economic crisis combined with the effects of an ageing population, globalisation and competition calls for an expanded role for social policy. The main targets of reform in Korea include the expansion of government programmes and safety nets for the unemployed and redesigning the national pension and health insurance scheme to provide adequate income security as well as to improve the system sustainability.

EUROPE VERSUS AMERICA

H. Wainwright

Community Care, no. 1374, 2001, p. 16

Argues in favour of the European social capitalist model of the welfare state. This is based on consensus and negotiation between government, business and the unions. It offers universal benefits and good quality public provision at the expense of high taxation.

A LIMITED PARTNERSHIP: THE POLITICS OF RELIGION, WELFARE AND SOCIAL SERVICE

B. Wineburg

New York: Columbia University Press, 2001

Argues that present US federal government policy, with its emphasis on social services being delivered by faith groups, simply cannot work the way its architects envisioned. Using almost 20 years of data from Greensboro, North Carolina, as a long-term case study, the author examines how the budget cuts of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton eras altered relationships among religious congregations and other agencies. Presents a vivid picture of the chaos caused by these policy changes at the level of service delivery and clearly demonstrates that the religious community cannot be the sole provider of social services but instead must remain an important but limited partner.

THE MARKET IN CHINESE SOCIAL POLICY

L. Wong and N. Flynn (eds.)

Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001

This book examines the impact and transformations that market reform in China has bought to the sector of social policy. It focuses on the areas of employment, welfare, health, education and housing. It examines these areas viewing China as a, 'unique reform experience in policy trends in marketization and privatization'. It discussess how the economic transformations and restructure of this sector has bought with it problems of, unequal access, exclusion and social burdens

MACROECONOMIC POLICY, GROWTH AND POVERTY REDUCTION

T. McKinley (ed.)

Basingstoke: Palgave, 2001

Book looks at the structural adjustment policies that are received wisdoms of the West and how they are being applied to solve the economic problems of the South. The issues of macroeconomic policies and poverty are discussed as is the distribution of wealth and the pace of development. It gives examples covering a wide geographical area which includes sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico, allowing comparisons to be drawn.

NEO-LIBERALISM, THE "THIRD WAY" OR WHAT? RECENT SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC WELFARE POLICIES IN DENMARK AND THE NETHERLANDS

C. Green-Pedersen, K. van Kersbergen and A. Hemerijck

Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 8, 2001, p. 307-325

Article offers an analysis of social democratic party policies on state welfare in Denmark and the Netherlands. Argues that the "third way" comprises a coherent set of "supply side" policies. The core of these consist of job creation, active labour market policies, the promotion of high rates of labour market participation, macroeconomic stability and wage moderation. Understood in this sense, the "third way" must be seen as a social democratic response to economic conditions in which Keynesian demand management through fiscal stimulation is no longer possible.

PARTISAN POLITICS AND WELFARE ADJUSTMENT: THE CASE OF FRANCE

J. D. Levy

Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 8, 2001, p. 265-285

Article examines the relationship between partisanship and welfare reform in France, focusing on the efforts of the Jospin government to anchor its social and economic reforms on the left. The government's strategy can be distilled into four components: 1) imposing the costs of austerity on the constituents of the right rather than those of the left; 2) giving a progressive twist to neo-liberal ideas such as privatization; 3) targeting tax relief at average and low-income groups; and 4) channelling scarce resources into highly visible, progressive projects.

SOCIAL LAW AND POLICY IN AN EVOLVING EUROPEAN UNION

J. Shaw (editor)

Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2000

Papers explore the legal dimension of European Union (EU) social policy. Books covers labour market policy, the role of the social partners and of governmental authorities in industrial relations, social inclusion and inter-regional redistributive policies, the impact of the internal market on national welfare states, and policies and practices aimed at rooting out discrimination and promoting societal and labour market equity.

SOCIALIST WELFARE IN A MARKET ECONOMY

N. Chow and Y. Xu

Ashgate: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2001

Book looks at the issues surrounding a socialist social welfare system and state-owned enterprises and their co-existence and survival in a market economy. It examines whether China has sacrificed its socialist ideas by creating a market economy. The book is based on a study of the experiences of Guangzhou one of the first major cities to convert to a market economy. It discusses the compromises that have been necessary to meet both socialist and market objectives. In conclusion it suggests that the social security system in China is merely changing to meet the needs of workers who are struggling to adapt to the market economy.

SUSTAINING STATE WELFARE IN HARD TIMES: WHO WILL FOOT THE BILL?

P. Taylor-Gooby

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 11, 2001, p. 133-147

Paper analyses attitude survey data from the 1980s and 1990s to show that approval of the main welfare services is high, but, in contrast to the findings of earlier studies, there is now some evidence of declining support. There is little support for cuts in social services, but an equally low level of willingness to pay the extra taxes and social contributions required to maintain current standards of provision in the face of rising pressures. An agenda of activation is likely to prove more acceptable politically than one of cost constraint across all regimes. European welfare states face a straitened future, between rising demands and constrained resources, which may lead public support to dwindle further.

THEORIZING WELFARE REGIMES: TOWARDS A DIALOGUE?

R. Mahon

Social Politics, vol. 8, 2001, p. 24-35

The erosion of the male breadwinner family form and the challenge this poses for contemporary welfare states constitutes a material basis for a dialogue between mainstream and feminist political economists.

THE WELFARE STATE AS PIGGY BANK: INFORMATION, RISK, UNCERTAINTY, AND THE ROLE OF THE STATE

N. Barr

Oxford: OUP, 2001

Barr discusses the many functions of the welfare state but concentrates in this book on the 'Piggy Bank' function - 'ensuring mechanisms for insurance and the redistribution over the life cycle.' The book takes the view that the welfare state exists for reasons additional to poverty relief; reasons which arise out of pervasive problems of imperfect information, risk and uncertainty. It explores ideas of how the welfare state will adapt to economic and social change following a contemporary and forward thinking approach. It examines issues such as:

  • 'genetic screening and its impact on insurance;
  • the convergence of private and social insurance;
  • how to finance long-term care;
  • pension reform in the light of fluid family staructures and a mobile workforce;
  • loans for financing investment in human capital;
  • new ways of involving private finance in tertiary education'.