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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

John O’Connor

Evaluates changes in the welfare system in Sweden, the UK and the USA over a decade, basing arguments on the divergence of economic globalization and domestic forces…

Abstract

Evaluates changes in the welfare system in Sweden, the UK and the USA over a decade, basing arguments on the divergence of economic globalization and domestic forces. Presents brief economic snapshots of each country, stating quite categorically that the welfare state is an impediment to capitalist profit‐making, hence all three nations have retrenched welfare systems in the hope of remaining globally economically competitive. Lays the responsibility for retrenchment firmly at the door of conservative political parties. Takes into account public opinion, national institutional structures, multiculturalism and class issues. Explores domestic structures of accumulation (DSA) and refers to changes in the international economy, particularly the Bretton Woods system (Pax Americana), and notes how the economic health of nations mirrors that of the US. Investigates the roles of multinationals and direct foreign investment in the global economy, returning to how economic policy affects the welfare state. Points out the changes made to the welfare state through privatization, decentralization and modification of public sector financing. Concludes that the main result has been an increase in earnings inequality and poverty.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Robin Stryker

Introduces a special issue on globalization and the welfare state. Asserts that economic globalization constrains national economic and social policy far more now than…

Abstract

Introduces a special issue on globalization and the welfare state. Asserts that economic globalization constrains national economic and social policy far more now than ever before, although the level of international trade has not increased that much compared to levels at the beginning of this century. Talks about the political consequences of economic globalization, particularly welfare state retrenchment in the advanced capitalist world. Outlines the papers included in this issue – comparing welfare system changes in Sweden, the UK and the USA; urban bias in state policy‐making in Mexico; and the developing of the Israeli welfare state. Concludes that economic globalization has a limited effect in shaping social welfare policy in advanced capitalist countries; nevertheless, recommends further research into which aspects of economic globalization shape social welfare policy.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1998

Soma Hewa

Recounts Rockefeller philanthropy and the role it has played in shaping the development of medicine in the USA and elsewhere. Questions why social scientific research was…

Abstract

Recounts Rockefeller philanthropy and the role it has played in shaping the development of medicine in the USA and elsewhere. Questions why social scientific research was not included in Rockefeller philanthropy in its formative stages. Investigates the role one Frederick T. Gates played in Rockefeller philanthropy and, particularly, his opposition to the creation of an institute of economic research. Sketches a biography of Gates, covering his professional career and the development of the philosophical views he held. Explores his approach to wholesale giving and scientific philanthropy as he gained more and more influence over Rockefeller’s business interests. Mentions William Lyon Mackenzie King (who later became Prime Minister of Canada) and his role within the Rockefeller philanthropic set‐up – to investigate labour relations – as a key factor in later obtaining support from the Rockefeller Foundation for social scientific research.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Robert M. Blackburn

Investigates the possible social causes of unemployment; focuses on how competition among employers can increase and perpetuate already high levels of unemployment. Starts…

Abstract

Investigates the possible social causes of unemployment; focuses on how competition among employers can increase and perpetuate already high levels of unemployment. Starts from the premise that, despite divergent attitudes, most industrialized nations make some collective provision for the unemployed, with firms ultimately bearing the costs. Describes how, although a firm may reduce its labour force to save money, it is ultimately, albeit collectively, paying the costs of unemployment via taxes to the State ‐ the main effect is to redistribute the costs to other organizations; depicts a resulting downward spiral in the economy. Looks at the relationships between increased productivity and the costs to society. Concludes that competitive unemployment is a reality and suggests possible solutions.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 19 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Kwong‐leung Tang

Examines the extent to which social policy adopted by the colonial government in Hong Kong (prior to its hand‐over China in 1997) has set the agenda for the government of…

Abstract

Examines the extent to which social policy adopted by the colonial government in Hong Kong (prior to its hand‐over China in 1997) has set the agenda for the government of the newly formed Special Administrative Region (SAR). Chronicles the historical development of social policy in Hong Kong since the inception of the colonial government in 1842; identifies that, with the exception of a short‐lived period of expansionism (stimulated by social unrest in the mid‐1960’s) social welfare provision appears to have been low on the government’s agenda and incremental in nature ‐ the emphasis being on economic growth, rather than public spending on welfare programmes. Examines the strengths and weaknesses of this incremental approach; outlines the commitment of the SAR government to the market economy and its proposals for a modest increase in welfare provision, essentially building on the legacy left behind by the colonial government.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 19 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Ana‐Maria Wahl

Investigates urban bias in state policy making in Mexico. Refers to literature claiming that rural poverty in developing nations is a major problem because capitalism…

Abstract

Investigates urban bias in state policy making in Mexico. Refers to literature claiming that rural poverty in developing nations is a major problem because capitalism reflects an urban bias. Examines social security coverage for the rural poor in Mexico and notes that there are great variations depending on area, suggesting that social security coverage is politically negotiable. Outlines briefly the historical development of Mexico’s welfare state and uses a power resource model to demonstrate how groups with competing interests go about securing benefits from the state. Cites literature on dependency theory, indicating that rural groups have failed to mobilize politically and have therefore not secured the same state resources (such as social security benefits and housing) as urban groups, yet argues that this does not always apply in Mexico, partially due to party politics and bureaucratic paternalism. Explains how data was collected to examine regional variations in social security coverage among the rural poor and how the data was analysed. Reveal that workers in important international export markets (such as cotton and sugar) have greater political leverage in obtaining better social security benefits. Notes also that areas supporting the political party in power obtain better benefits. Concludes, therefore, that rural workers are not powerless in the face of urban capitalism and that urban bias and dependency theories do not reflect the situation in Mexico – rather social security benefits are politically negotiable.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Simon Forge

Are we now entering the era of a new type of economy, with new rules? What we perceive is more than just an addition to today’s economics. By removing the effects of…

Abstract

Are we now entering the era of a new type of economy, with new rules? What we perceive is more than just an addition to today’s economics. By removing the effects of distance, and giving more equal access across nations and classes, networks will effectively reengineer our basic economic equations. Electronic networks can provide access to skills, work and commerce at much lower cost, via electronic markets in jobs, products, services and education. At the same time, they introduce new economic behaviour, as a large enough quantitative change becomes a qualitative change. Electronics and optics enable the networking of human capital, expanding its application and accelerating its enrichment via education. So knowledge‐based operations may slowly replace traditional capital‐based assets. Consequently, the conventional process for the creation of wealth with its prerequisites for capital investment is revised:economic value in traditional fixed assets is replaced by “electronic assets”. At the same time, the network effect pushes the market mechanism to its limits, through a step‐change in breadth of access, reduced costs of entry and pace of trading. National differences and national markets, all the trappings and devices of commercial locality, are challenged. In this first of two articles, the initial conditions and the evidence for change are examined and the emergence of a new form of economy, or “tele‐economy”, is reviewed. Following from this, a view of the form of capitalism driving the economic environment – “electronic capitalism” – is put forward. The second article, to be published in a forthcoming issue of foresight, examines the consequences and conclusions on assets, wealth accumulation, national players and the benefits and dangers of a tele‐economy.

Details

Foresight, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1998

F.E. Trainer

Puts forward the limit to growth perspective, which is rarely mentioned in societies devoted to the increase of material living standards. Outlines the resources each…

Abstract

Puts forward the limit to growth perspective, which is rarely mentioned in societies devoted to the increase of material living standards. Outlines the resources each individual in rich countries uses and extrapolates those figures to cover the rest of the world’s population, proving that it is clearly impossible to sustain such living standards. Criticizes profit maximization, market forces and the pursuit of business opportunities as inappropriate to the needs of the world’s poor majority. Explores how society could reduce its per capita resource use and environmental impact, particularly through the development of small scale self‐sufficient economies. Points out that most of the real economy would be in non‐cash areas. Hastens to mention that a simpler, less material and closer‐to‐nature lifestyle does not exclude information technology. Indicates that access to communal property and service needs to replace income as the means to a satisfying life. Summarizes how community gardens can be set up and the roles that community workers could play in saving towns.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 18 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Wang Kangmao and Hu Chun

This paper identifies the new economic force regenerating the East Asian economies in the post‐crisis era. Based on the convergence of five main economic indexes, it…

Abstract

This paper identifies the new economic force regenerating the East Asian economies in the post‐crisis era. Based on the convergence of five main economic indexes, it reclassifies the ten East Asian entities into four tiers, and highlights the language similarities among the tiers. It also discusses the inter‐ and intra‐regional economic dynamics, and the implications on further regional trade/investment, financial cooperation and monetary integration, such as a possible unifying Asian currency.

Details

Foresight, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1999

Colin C. Williams and Jan Windebank

This paper argues that by shackling the future of work to a vision of full employment, alternative futures are closed off. At present, employment creation is seen as the…

Abstract

This paper argues that by shackling the future of work to a vision of full employment, alternative futures are closed off. At present, employment creation is seen as the sole route out of poverty. Here, however, we reveal that a complementary additional pathway is to help people to help themselves and each other. To show this, evidence from a survey of 400 households in deprived neighbourhoods of Southampton and Sheffield is reported. This reveals that besides creating job opportunities, measures that directly empower people to improve their circumstances could be a useful complementary initiative to combat social exclusion and open up new futures for work that are currently closed off.

Details

Foresight, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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