Discuss the Social Welfare in the 20th Century and Beyond……………….
Table of Contents
3 1.0 Social Welfare in the 20th Century and Beyond
3 1.1 Introduction
3 1.2 Research topic
4 1.3 Documentary sources
6 1.4 Summary
7 1.5 Future plan
8 1.6 Conclusion
1.0 Social Welfare in the 20th Century and Beyond
This review will address the social change and will also look at how the social change has affected the economic and political system with time. It will show the importance of studying social change because it will help us understand many topics which will explain the success rate and the rate of failure in globalization, in the political systems, development and economic growth and democratisation. The ideas behind these concepts are all rooted in the idea of social change.
1.2 Research Topic
The single event that has affected the life of most people in UK and the Western civilisation for that matter has got to be the social welfare schemes. The scheme has been important to particularly in elevation of poverty and provision of public education on issues related to the well being of an individual. Additionally it has been used to bridge the gap of poverty that exists in society by making sure that the basic necessities are provided to the public. The topic has been chosen because of the sensitivity surrounding the issue. The social welfare has served the Western countries and has been the subject of envy by third world or developing countries. However, the Western governments are on record expressing their dissatisfaction with the program. In fact they are thinking of eradicating the program altogether. However, should this be the case? To try answering this question, this paper will try by looking at the history of the social welfare and its present in a bid to try speculating its future.
1.3 Documentary sources used
To achieve the objectives of this research paper, documentary sources were used. In particular: I used the book Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State by Pederson, and also the book Social Policy in the United States: Future Possibilities in Historical Perspective by Skocpol Theda. The first book is important as it explains the history of the social welfare particularly during the 20th century which is the main period under investigation. The second book is also important as it tries to explain the future or social welfare particularly during a time when the importance of social welfare is under heavy criticism.
Most of the information relied upon for this paper was found from documentary sources. Social researches usually need in-depth interviews and observations. However, documentary sources are also effective (cost-effective) than the actual interviews and analysis (Bailey, 1994). It is used to categorise, interpret, investigate and also used to identify the limitations of the physical sources which have been written most of the times in public or private domain. The documentary sources have been helpful in social research as the social surveys because it can also be adopted as a scientific method that also needs meticulous adherence to research protocol. Furthermore, even scientist have used documentary sources to supplement the information they collect through social surveys and the information gathered during the in depth analysis that they undertake in the course of their research work.
Karl Marx for example made use of documentary sources and also made use of other official reports in his writings. Apart from using legislations he also made use of newspapers and periodicals. Emile Durkheim also made extensive use of documentary sources. Durkheim’s work Suicide is in fact considered as a modern example that brings linkage between use of data by inference and data by methodological perseverance.
The success of any economic growth will depend on a number of factors key amongst them including technology, natural and social resources. Very few countries however take full advantage of their resources and technology to realise the change so much sought. Having customs and values that favour accumulation and capital development is essential for a social system compatible for growth. This is a core element for successful resource utilization, because a flexible political and economic system is fundamental for the process.
Change is a very complex process and for to be realised, many aspects have to be factored in. For instance, technology and availability of resources, demography, economics and politics are all important aspects to be considered. Other change aspects are always viewed as predictable and systematic. On the other hand, other changes are considered coincidental and very random.
The modern state of the social welfare can be attributed to three periods in their historical development. The first can be traced to the early and mid- 19th century in Central and Western Europe and in North America. During this period a variety of social insurance schemes were created by some reformers to cater for the needs of the aged and a selected voluntary market based remedies. The organisations also were designed to cater for the mentally ill while promoting public health simultaneously. Moreover they also warded off epidemics and the participated in expansion of public education and improving the state of life of the poor people. These activities were experienced to what was referred to as the democratic idealism and liberal age. The social welfare institution therefore expressed the spirit of these ideas in that particular age.
The second period can be traced back to the 1870s to the 1920’s. Most of the European countries had social insurance schemes which had incorporated in them various groups and therefore reflected some notions of hierarchy and efficiency.
The third phase can be traced to 1930 during America’s Great Depression. As the name suggests it affected most of the American States since they had even established a very extensive Social Security program. Most of the Central and Western Europe were also affected as they had in the wake of the 2nd World War embraced a social welfare state.
Between 1990 and 2000, however, many of the European nations and the United States have criticised the welfare system and suggestions are there proposing a change in the modern social welfare which might see the evolution of social welfare as it is known today.
The watchdog for this age was the idea that the private sector and government could work together. During this period, most of Europe was engulfed in war and the Marshall plan was instituted to help rebuild the whole of Europe. The plan had laid the political reform base and it had also provided a platform for a rigorous welfare state. The Labour Party in Britain had assumed parliamentary control and the government for that matter enacted laws which saw the extension of the welfare states by calling for the nationalization of specific industries and it also created the National Health Service in 1948 (Pedersen, 1993). This helped in enrolling doctors into the state’s payroll and it also began to further public education. This allowed most families to have larger families because there was a guarantee of better provision of healthcare systems. The welfare schemes we also important in provision of sanitation and expansion of public health as well as providing other welfare services. All this factors combined helped in population increase especially after the two World Wars that engulfed a greater part of the European continent. Other European countries like Sweden and France used the system to provide family allowances and helped to make sure that poverty was eradicated for the sake of the children. Furthermore, they were involved in provision of day-care centres and provision of free higher education amongst other provisos.
1.5 Future plan for social welfare.
The welfare system has however, in the 21st century been revolted against. It has been considered to be an unnecessary expense particularly to the Underdeveloped countries (Skocpol, 1995). For the developed countries it has been seen as an expensive investment. The reason behind this view especially amongst developed countries is the aging population which is deemed incapable of contributing to the social welfare scheme. The future of social welfare is not very certain. Governments keep changing policies and they have shifted their minds from concentration on health to areas like defence which require a lot of money to implement at the risk of the health systems and the social welfare of a country’s citizens.
Social welfare from the information gathered has an important role to play in the society. From its onset it has seen that the aging in society receive adequate care. Furthermore, it has helped in the realisation of proper healthcare amongst the poor in society. Abolishing it at a time when the global economy is in shambles would spell doom especially to the unemployed in society. Affording healthcare services amongst the poor and unemployed would be almost impossible. Furthermore it would be unfair to subject the same people who contributed diligently when they had gainful employment to the welfare to a life of difficulties. Doing this would only characterise people as important to the government only if they have gainful employment and contribute to the social welfare. Furthermore, every person has got the right to health amongst other rights. Some realise these rights through the social welfares, therefore abolishing it would be violation of the constitution. The social welfare has not outgrown their usefulness and they should remain put. What should change are the policies.
Bailey, K.1994, Methods of Social Research, Fourth Edition, New York: The Free
Pedersen, S. 1993. Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State: Britain and France 1914–1945. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Skocpol, T.1995. Social Policy in the United States: Future Possibilities in Historical Perspective. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
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