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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2003): Welfare State - Overseas

ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL WELFARE ISSUES IN FREE MARKET ENVIRONMENTS

C.Bathala and A.R. Korukonda

International Journal of Social Economics, vol.30, 2003, p.854-866

In relating financial markets to social welfare, it is argued at one extreme that they are the root of all the inequalities and social injustices of the world. At the other extreme, they are considered to be objective and unbiased and to be unconnected to social injustice. Article examines the relationship between financial markets and social injustice in three contexts:

  • privatisation of public enterprises;
  • economic liberalisation;
  • social welfare in free market versus state-controlled economies.

AUSTRALIA'S WELFARE REFORMS: THE PLAYERS, THE POLITICS AND THE IDEOLOGIES

P. Mendes

Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2003

This book considers the roles played by key ideologies and lobby groups in determining welfare state outcomes with specific reference to current theories about globalisation. The book used contemporary case studies to analyse and explain current Australian welfare state policies and outcomes. It questions many of the key assumptions that underpin contemporary social welfare and is critical of the economic rationalist ideas currently dominating the welfare debates in Australia and internationally.

ENTERPRISE AND WELFARE REFORM IN COMMUNIST ASIA

P. Ferdinand and M.Gainsborough

London: Frank Cass, 2003

The geographical scope of this collection is wide. It surveys enterprise and welfare reform in all the remaining Asian communist states: China, Vietnam, Laos and North Korea. All have shown a trend towards greater reliance on market forces, though in different ways and to varying degrees. How these regimes cope with these conflicting pressures is vital to their long-term viability.

EU ENLARGEMENT VERSUS SOCIAL EUROPE?: THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL MODEL

D.C. Vaughan-Whitehead

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2003

The decision to enlarge the European Union by ten (and then 13 and more) countries has not been accompanied by much discussion of the implications for Social Europe. This has led to criticisms that enlargement is a purely economic process that will sweep aside important social considerations. The book attempts a comprehensive assessment of the social policy areas most relevant to EU enlargement:

  • wages,
  • working conditions,
  • social protection,
  • employment,
  • industrial relations

while also addressing its most sensitive 'social dumping' aspects:

  • capital relocation,
  • labour migration
  • redirection of trade.

THE SCANDINAVIAN CHALLENGE: THE FUTURE OF ADVANCED WELFARE STATES IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

M. Benner

Acta Sociologica, vol.46, 2003, p.132-149

The Scandinavian countries are all characterised by high growth and the rapid introduction of new technologies while retaining advanced social protection systems and regulated labour markets. Their employment and welfare model is based on tax-financed social services, generous social insurance schemes, organised labour markets with limited wage and employment flexibility, and a commitment to full employment. The model has survived the impact of economic globalisation. These countries have successfully achieved the transition to a knowledge-based economy through active state intervention to promote the development of an infrastructure for innovation and the maintenance of centralised social pacts in support of wage restraint and changes in industrial organisation.

SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY: AN ANALYSIS USING THE ETHIC OF CARE

S. Sevenhuijsen and others

Critical Social Policy, vol. 23, 2003, p.299-321

Article examines the South African government's White Paper for Social Welfare (WPSW) using the lens of a feminist political ethic of care. The ethic of care is used to trace the normative framework of the document and to assess how adequately issues of care, welfare and citizenship are dealt with. Concludes that the document inserts care into a familialist framework. This framework does not adequately address current South African social problems or correspond with the social justice principles endorsed in the same White Paper. Authors propose that care should be positioned in notions of citizenship rather than those of family and community. In this way responsibility for care would be made a common concern, centrally placed in human life.

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