Over the past century, the provision of social welfare has changed drastically in both the recipients of this welfare care and the scale of social protection services.
This evolution is mainly due to the development of welfare states. In the 1910s and 20s the growing of movements as trade union movements or Labour Party in Britain has enlightened and sort of created a conflict between the poor working class and the industrial and powerful class. The state intervention was seen as the only efficient solution in order to protect the workers against the industrial capitalism.
The provision of social welfare is commonly linked with the notion of welfare state. However, the state is not the only entity which can respond efficiently to social problems. There is a mixed economy of welfare and according to Alcock we can distinguish four sectors that make up the provision of social welfare. In addition to the state, we can find the private market, the voluntary sector and the informal welfare that is, the family, the neighbourhood, etc. This welfare mix takes a different form based on the time period during which and to the country in which it has been developed. On the one hand, the development of the welfare state in Britain is, for example, mainly a consequence of the Beveridge Report in 1942 stating that it was time to remove the five giant evils that had haunted the country before the war : disease, idleness, ignorance, squalor and want. This conception was challenged quite unsuccessfully by Margaret Thatcher afterwards. Nowadays the concept of welfare state is being questioned and more than ever the boundaries between the different sectors in this welfare mix are blurred. On the other hand, in the United States the provisions of social welfare are in the largest part dedicated to the private sector whereas in the Scandinavian Countries the state takes a greater part in the social welfare provision.
[...] The analysis of the structure of the welfare system and the relation between the different sectors will enable us to figure out what the social policy is made up of and to determine the issues that will affect the future of social policy. Historically, the informal sector should be considered to be the major provider of social provision. It has grown alongside the growth of the first communities (tribes Alcock Pete: Social Policy in Britain nd edition), Palgrave/MacMillan p groups, families, society the mutual assistance was then necessary to overcome the everyday life difficulties. [...]
[...] Thus, if we import market principles into the state welfare system, the Ibid., p Ibid., p Ibid., p major risk is to introduce the problems that the market has to face into the public system: a welfare provision for those able to pay and not for those really in need10. The voluntary sector is, as stated above, somewhere in-between the market and the state11. For the Webbs, the voluntary sector must “operat[e] alongside state welfare provision” and the voluntary activity developed as a supplement to the basic state services that were guaranteed for all”12, this is what we call the “extension ladder” theory. [...]
[...] This is why the limits of the welfare state have been recently questioned. It is impossible for the state expenditures to keep growing indefinitely to meet increasing demand. Moreover some commentators have argued that the state fails to identify the needs of many people. Critics also argue that all needs cannot be met mainly because of the bureaucratic structures which can be insensitive, brutal and impersonal. The bureaucracy is also presented as an “excuse for inaction (your file has been sent to another section)8”. [...]
[...] The state has been expected to play a more significant role in the provision of social welfare since then. Besides this global movement, each government has chosen its own perspective and its priority. Their main goal is, however, the general well-being of their citizens. In order to achieve this general well-being, the state can act in the behalf of all citizens in a lot of fields: education, social security, housing, health, etc. According to Alcock its functions can be summarized in four categories: Ibid., p For details, see Ibid., p and the research lead by Johnson Ibid., p General Household Survey provision, subsidisation, regulation and employment5. [...]
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