Sociology - Wealth, Poverty and Work - Welfare

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Variation of welfare:

  • Sweden = 51.1% of GDP spent on welfare.

  • UK = 37.2%.

  • US = 26.8%.

Theoretical Approaches to Welfare:

Social Democratic Approach:

  • Universal model of welfare made in 1940’s. Beveridge report.

  • Government should be responsible for social welfare. Eliminates unemployment and poverty, care for the poor and socially vulnerable/educated (disabled/elderly).

  • Social inequality threatens the stability of society, income through progressive tax.

  • Benefits create a stigma for those claiming hem. So all benefits universal so it reduces stigma.

  • In 2012 between 10% and 40% of those entitled to income related benefits did not claim. 7.5billion and 12.3billion unclaimed.

  • Means testing also discouraged people taking low paid work → Welfare dependant

  • Universal Provision has economic benefits through an employed, healthy, and qualified workforce which promotes social cohesion.

  • New Right Approach/Market Liberal.

  • Welfare should be a market where people can choose and that sits themselves

  • Welfare state undermines personal responsibility & self help.

  • Welfare services are of better quality when they are not provided by the state because of competition.

  • Taxation should be kept to the minimum and should not be wasted on those who could provide themselves.

  • State benefits should be restricted to the very poor and those unable to work through sickness and disability.

  • Benefits should be means tested.

Critical Approaches:

Marxist approaches:

  • Welfare state is a way of burying the working-class protest

  • Welfare State is a tool to keep the workplace and workforce happy and efficient to benefit the ruling-class.

  • Gives the illusion of care and fair system and distracts the working-class from realising they are exploited.

  • Welfare state reduces the risk to social order and political stability and avoids unrest and protest against capitalism.

  • Working-class


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