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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2004): Welfare State - Overseas

THE CHOICE REVOLUTION: PRIVATIZATION OF SWEDISH WELFARE SERVICES IN THE 1990S

P. Blomqvist

Social Policy and Administration, vol.38, 2004, p.139-155

During the 1990s Swedish welfare service delivery was opened up to private providers. As a result private provision grew in healthcare, primary education and social care. This produced a socially segregating dynamic, triggered by the introduction of "consumer choice". The gradual privatization of social welfare services is undermining the previous ideal of a "people's home" where uniform, high quality services are provided by the state to all citizens regardless of income, social background or cultural orientation.

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL POLICY

H. J. Karger, J. Midgley and C.Brene Brown

Arlington: Pearson Education, 2004

This book offers a collection of contemporary social policy debates which highlight the importance of critical and independent thought in the educational process. The 18 debate topics cover a wide range of professional interests and are divided into four parts:

  • social policy and the American welfare state;
  • poverty, inequality, and social policy;
  • issues in social policy;
  • social work education and professional policy.

Highlights include:

  • contemporary debates about the social policy debates that are raging in Washington and elsewhere;
  • debates by policy analysts both inside and outside the field of social work on the current thinking on both sides of the political spectrum.

DENMARK: UNIVERSAL OR NOT SO UNIVERSAL WELFARE STATE?

B. Greve

Social Policy and Administration, vol.38, 2004, p.156-169

Article explores the question of whether or not Denmark is still a universal welfare state through case studies of pensions, unemployment benefit and early retirement benefit. Concludes that, although welfare provision in Denmark today is more mixed than it used to be, it retains its focus on equality, full employment, high spending on social security and active labour market policies.

LIFTING UP THE POOR: A DIALOGUE ON RELIGION, POVERTY AND WELFARE REFORM

M.J. Bane and L.M .Mead

Washington: Brookings Institute, 2004

People who participate in debate about the causes and cures of poverty often speak from religious conviction. But those convictions are rarely made explicit or debated on their own terms. Rarely is the influence of personal religious commitment on policy decisions examined. Both authors bring their faith traditions, policy experience and political commitments together in this discussion of poverty. Drawing from various Christian traditions, both emphasize social justice, showing how inculcating Christian virtues and encouraging personal responsibility can help to combat poverty.

A SWEDISH-STYLE WELFARE STATE OR BASIC INCOME: WHICH SHOULD HAVE PRIORITY?

B.R. Bergmann

Politics and Society, vol.32, 2004, p.107-118

Argues that a generous welfare state in incompatible with payment of a universal basic income to all citizens. The combination of the two would push up taxation to intolerable levels.

WELFARE REFORM: A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE FRENCH AND U.S. EXPERIENCES

N. Gilbert and A. Parent

London: Transaction Publishers, 2004

This volume provides an analysis of the development and structure of modern welfare programmes in France and the United States of America. The book concentrates on two recent welfare reform programmes:

  • the Revenue Minimum d'Insertion in France;
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in the U.S.

Contributors examine the relations between poverty and work, how the U.S. and French models have been transformed in recent years, the relative impact of economic growth and policy reforms on rates of welfare participation and what happens to recipients who leave the welfare rolls. The evidence in this volume suggests that while the details may vary, welfare reforms in France and the United States have more in common than is often acknowledged.

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