Social Policy: Concepts and Definitions

Social Policy: Concepts and Definitions



dear students a very warm welcome to this edition of EPG pachala we will be discussing here today the course on social policy our module that we will be discussing today is social policy key concepts my name is Sol Heaney Sengupta I am an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and I will be discussing with you this module on this very important core social policy so stay with me and let's embark on the journey the objective of this module essentially to enable you to understand key concepts in social policy we will also provide you with some definitions of these concepts we will introduce you to the broader goals in social policy and we will be discussing in brief some methods that are used for meeting social needs in the context of social policy let's start at the beginning what do we mean by social policy or what is social policy social policy may be defined as the action that is usually taken by governments or private sector informal organizations members of the community or family members to ensure that all members of the society are able to attain a basic minimum need so they are able to attain a basic standard of living and that they have access to opportunities with which they can improve their lives essentially it's about ensuring that a certain standard of well-being is maintained in a society social policy also means the organization of welfare activities which are required to meet the needs of individuals and groups it also means the ability and the methods to recognize the various social problems and needs that members of a group or individuals in a society may have and the different ways in which we can solve these problems in modern societies so policy in general has come to mean the various actions and programs and strategies that the government undertakes basically provisions of public goods and services provided by the state for the well-being of all Wyeth definition sounds really simple social policy in general can evoke quite a lot of public sentiment foreign against certain types of provisions are these really doing good for the society should we have different types of policies shall we try new policies should be learned from other countries and all of these things are associated with the amount of money that governments or individuals or even families have to spend on meeting people's needs let's look at what Social Policy is supposed to do before we get into the nitty gritties of whether social policy works or whether it actually leads to improvement of people's social conditions or creates wellbeing for people social policy is essentially underpinned by progressive V distributive concerns by Redistributor because it's based on the understanding that resources and means in a society are never equal they're never equal for everybody some people have more and some people have less in a natural condition of existence it's probably okay for some people to have more and some people to have less and there could arise various justifications for such an unequal distribution of resources or rights or liabilities or opportunities what whatever you may have however social policy begins with the understanding is that somewhere we should be looking for a society where people should be more or less equal in terms of the kind of living standards that they have therefore social policy aims to increase the overall well-being of all people this is to ensure that those who are disadvantaged in a society are not left behind on lacking opportunities are in living standards as compared to the people those who have better opportunities it also problematizes and increases the visibility of depredations because unless we learn how to recognize deprivation we would never take action to do anything about them it provides remedial actions for identified social problems since it is very difficult to identify all possible problems that all individuals may have in a society and which is ultimately leading to their not having a great standard of living social policy often selects and targets specific types of social problems so that it can create and design measures to deal with these problems one of the broader goals of social policy actually which is beyond immediate social problems or needs that individuals or groups may have in a society is to contribute to social stability by reducing deprivation too many deprived people a society that is full of inequalities and ones is not a great idea if you want to have a cohesive and a stable society which endures over a long period of time the last goal of social policy which is again related to the goal that we discussed before is to reduce societal conflicts societal conflicts that may emerge from unprecedented extent of inequalities and which may lead some groups to feel grave injustice so social policy has both immediate and broader goals let me come to the first point that we are going to discuss in this particular module that is the brief background of social policy varied social policy emerge from where was it born we are not going to try a search of origins which is a very difficult exercise let's look at the 19th century social policy is usually attributed with the emergence of modern states with growth in capitalism and industrialization all over the world during industrialization large number of people moved from their agricultural livelihood to cities and urban centers all over the world but feed in the 19th century in the countries of Western Europe and in some parts of North America as people moved from the rural backgrounds to the urban areas they encountered new your types of risks and insecurities and their livelihoods this is not to say that agricultural lives in rural lives were practically without insecurities they did have insecurities but cities and urban environments and industrial jobs created newer forms of risks that people were encountering for the first time simultaneously with these new types of risks what also were emerging were markets in goods and commodities and services many types of commodities were available in these emerging markets within the new capitalized new highly capitalistic northern and industrialized world where you could buy various goods and services but many people who worked in these urban factories did not probably have incomes or stability of incomes to afford some of these services markets however were also prone to failure which means that all the people who came from rural areas to urban areas with the promise of jobs and employment and steady salaries and improvement that the world around them promised did not actually become attainable for many of them and in such situations modern state took upon themselves the responsibility to come and help people to tide over the different contingencies that may face in life so in one moment you have a job and the next moment you don't have a job you may fall sick you may have accidents at your workplace yeah your children may want to go to school you want to educate them there are good schools but you don't have the money to pay for a fee and the government felt that if the markets could not provide people who worked in industries with sufficient security of livelihood and income then it is the responsibility of the government to help them to tide over temporary crisis and insecurities social policy was born to address new types of insecurities in the more world this image essentially is from one of the landmark policy reports that was written by William Beveridge in 1942 the British economists William Beveridge was a British economist was attributed with the emergence of the welfare state institutions and policies in Britain following the world following World War two the image that you see in the previous slide describes five giant wants as beverage described them incidentally beverage was born in India yeah he was the son of British civil servants in colonial India many went back to the United Kingdom early in the 20th century he became an economist and an advisor to the British government and he thought that they were five giant warrants and the first one was what the second one ignorant the third he thought was disease the fourth scholar and the fifth was idleness and he felt that welfare policies were required welfare institutions were required to deal with all of them but the main thing was to deal with the first one which was the biggest and the most horrible giant of all and that was want want that we know perhaps we better understand it with the term poverty or deprivation today as we stand on the second decade of 21st century want has not escaped us it's still pretty much with us and some of the lessons from the early social policy makers is remains relevant to some parts of the world like India even today let's move on then from the brief background the emergence of social policy in the early 20th in the late 19th century happenings in the world – more general things like models models are not necessarily reflections of what what you will find out there you may not find them in different government social policies or specific social programs but they help us to both design the content of social policy and also to analyze the kind of social policies that different governments may be pursuing we'll look at some specific models of social policy now let's start with what is called the residual welfare model as the name suggests residual means that the government takes care of only some needs that individuals may experience yeah and these needs are usually those that the government determines that the family the community in the market or any other entities unable to fulfill and it's only then the teens these other systems of social provisioning fail that the government steps in and provides welfare and that is usually called a residual model of welfare the institutional redistributed model however takes a far more expansive role for the state it argues that the government has a responsibility to provide universal services to citizens no matter whether they were also being provided by family community etc it just has to assume that a certain basic level of services need to be provided to all in order that they never fall into certain types of contingency and lives and can continuously better themselves and the standard of living of their own and family members social expenditure not social expenditure is really important because once you have designed a model once you've designed policies based on some model whether it's residual or whether it's redistributed where is the money come from governments can have very noble ideas citizens may want their governments to do many things for them but without the financial resources it's impossible to do any kind of social policy the concept of social expenditure is sometimes used to understand how much social policy any government or a state has social expenditure is the product of social policy made by governments based on the understanding that certain welfare needs must be met usually it is calculated as a proportion of a country's gross national product or its income in India social sector expenditure for example is defined as the total of all expenditure on two categories Social Services and rural development as per the central budget and the state budgets there have been some changes in this as per the fourteenth financials commission we will talk about it in the module on financial policy later on during the course for now social services includes areas like education health Family Welfare water supply and sanitation rural development is the category which consists of anti-poverty programs usually to find out how much social policy or how much social work we are doing in our country all we need to do sometimes is to see how much social expenditure we have what is the objective of social expenditure activity well social expenditure can also be categorized into two parts depending on what kind of country we are most countries are classified globally in terms of whether their high income countries middle income countries or low income countries as you may be aware India has recently been classified as a middle-income country in high-income country the goal of social expenditure has been to support people in adverse circumstances if you're sick if you're ill if you've had accidents if you've lost your job you want your children to go to school etc it's a form of social investment it's considered to be a social investment that the government does for nurturing future citizens because you want your citizens to be healthy to be well nourished to be strong to be capable of pursuing their full potential in middle-income countries like India as the name suggests usually and remember we are talking about expenditure here we don't have that much money to spend on social policy not always and sometimes we may be doing very very careful balancing between what is the most prioritized sector hence social expenditure is usually targeted towards providing basic minimum needs forward here is eradication and ending discrimination through affirmative action in the sense that you target your expenditure to your priority areas but not necessarily provide universal public services to all citizens let us look at some of the principles based on which social policies are designed these principles are higher-order philosophy philosophical thoughts which are needed to sort of persuade us why we need social policy because as as you've seen social policy has a historical origin people might argue that you know it works for the West doesn't necessarily work for us or for our country people might argue we don't have so much money why waste it on doing social policy why not spend more on economic growth so there are certain principles which sort of argue which can argue for us why we meet social policy one of the first principles is the principle of redistribution deliberate intervention by the state to achieve welfare Rob's objectives such as creating greater equality along income or access to key services such as education health care it is driven by ethical and moral considerations of what is a fair and just society if you do not have a moral and ethical notion about fairness and justice it's unlikely that you will be persuaded by a bowl of redistribution the second principle is equality equality is the recognition that inequalities of income class race ethnicity gender etc can't create a great deal of social disadvantage for particular individuals and groups so no matter how well endowed you are or how meritorious you are no one would ever get to know about it because you will always fall behind in comparison to your peers or other citizens equality therefore is a key principle in social policy because you do social policy to create more equality but equality principle is often merged in debates about equality of what and when we do a future module on redistribution and justice you will learn more about this whole debate about equality of what when we want to make equality on what grounds do we judge that something or someone or some resources are equal or not the third principle is the principle of Rights our individual escapes for social benefits and services and the fact that they want their governments to pay for some of their basic needs is it legitimate is it legitimate why is it legitimate it cannot just be because you need it it cannot just be because you prefer to but these become legitimate if they are backed by the force of law and are regarded as social rights rights therefore along with redistribution on equality is a key principle underpinning social policy one of the concepts that does not have the the moral force of either equality redistribution just as fairness or rights as social needs one of the key concepts and remember we are talking about social needs are not just simply meets our basic needs one of the key concepts underlying social policy social needs since for the provision of welfare services we must begin with a recognition of needs and the organization of the society to meet these needs recognition of needs is much more complex than what it sounds because on one hand we all know what we need when we don't have food we do feel hungry and you don't have water we feel thirsty but what about something as abstract as healthcare we might be sick but we might need to work so we go on working and we may not seek health care so do we know whether we need health care so need therefore is its complex therefore a recognition of need becomes a complex exercise in the context of social policy Bradshaw classified social needs into four different types which is useful for us to sort of differentiate between how do you discover which which types of needs are relevant for social policy normative means normative needs are usually identified by experts why what kind of needs our normative needs normative needs are when you decide that a certain Society or individuals in a certain society may require certain kinds of resources or certain kinds of abilities they need to be healthy they need to grow up to a certain height the children under the age of five need to weigh a certain amount of kilograms we decide on all that experts decide what is good for society and therefore define means and hence these become normative names so no matter what individuals want what they know or what they like but it is like these needs remain felt needs are deeds that we are personally aware of we are aware of these kinds of needs we know if you are hungry they are feeling hot we are done comfortable we are angry these are all different kinds of self-aware needs self-awareness of needs is an important criteria in social policy making but we will discuss why it can also be problematic what are expressed needs expressed needs urban people who are aware about the kind of needs that they have convert this into action which means that they feel something but they want the states to do something about it that is a conversion of needs interaction comparative needs are needs that evolved out of comparison say for example you live in a community in a rural area where everybody is equally poor everyone lives in homes made of mud and their rooms are made of touch people are happy and contented and they lead a good life then some people go to cities on a lot of money start building two-story concrete houses they have a satellite dish on top and they have television and you start comparing yourself with your neighbors and all of a sudden you're not that happy anymore you you feel that you need you need you need better jobs you need better incomes if you can't do it yourself you you can educate your children and on all of a sudden this you have an expansion and explosion of needs and this is called a comparatively usually in social policy making a combination of understanding of all of these needs are necessary to device the right and a social policy let's look at now at a new concept the concept of welfare state what is a welfare state we have an entire module on welfare state theory so I will not get into details about it I will only introduce the concept of a welfare state it is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in protecting and promoting the economic and social well-being of citizens you may ask how is it different from any government because all governments are actually geared towards creating social and economic well-being of citizens however welfare states are very strong on social policies they invest a lot of money in social policies they use principles of equality redistribution rights as we have discussed before here welfare states imply that there is public responsibility for people who are unable to obtain the minimum provision of good life and usually this public responsibility is guaranteed by law and factors in in the budgets so welfare states have very strong social policies and they play a key role in promoting people's economic and social well-being through the instruments of social policy what does a welfare state actually do one of the principal activities of the principal roles of the welfare state is to modify the effects of market if you remember we mentioned the emergence of social policy at a too modest time when the world was industrializing and we were all becoming – getting ready to live in cities in an ideal typical welfare state the play of market forces is modified in three directions by a welfare state the welfare state guarantee is a minimum income irrespective of the market value of people's work or property which essentially means that tomorrow if you're a jobless or the market decides the skills that you have are of no value to anybody you should not starve you should not have to withdraw your children from school the state will provide you with a minimum income it narrows insecurity for citizens by enabling them to meet social contingency which would otherwise lead to crisis what kind of crisis you could get indebted you could sell your house you could sell yourself you could land up in all sorts of problem you could get into bonded labor these are the kind of contingencies that the government doesn't want you to do the government wants you to lead a stable life irrespective of whether the market values your work or not it ensures that all citizens have access to the best standards of certain agreed-upon social services which basically means that if uh if a society decides that everyone needs to have a certain level of education certain level of health certain level of nutrition then the government will guarantee that irrespective of whether you can hold your job in the market or whether the economy is creating jobs or not these kinds of needs will never be compromised and that is how a welfare states main role is to modify the effects of market let us look at a more recent term while welfare state and social policy are terms that have been with us for 100 years now social protection is a relatively new concept social protection is a policy strategy that emerged from the effects of global recession which led to millions of people becoming poorer all over the world and this has happened in recent times as we are all over capitalism goes into cycles of boom and bust for a few decades countries are doing very well people are earning a lot of money and everybody's having a good time and then comes a time when global capital flows elsewhere suddenly industry is shut down people don't have jobs and there is recession social protection is a concept that emerged in the late mid to late 20th century to address the newer effects of global recession it refers to the prevention management and overcoming of situation that adversely affect people's well-being it does not necessarily Center the role of a government of the state in creating these preventive and promotive and managing of distressful situations for people but it does recognize a need for there to be protective mechanisms traditional function of social protection has been to enable individuals to maintain their living standards been affected by sharks or crisis in developing countries however social protection has emerged as a key instrument for tracking chronic poverty and vulnerability which means certain people have been poor all their lives and they are likely to be so for generations and how does social protection enable them to overcome this kind of an abysmal standard of living role of the state is increasingly controversial in the designing and provisioning of social policy because many social protection proponents probably argue that as long as welfare needs are being met why do we need the state it can be provided by anybody it's a general perception however that the state is a dominant institution that is responsible for provision of welfare services and in the coming modules we will discuss why state has such a central role Memphis services however may also be funded through and provided by a variety of different actors such as commercial sector public not-for-profit as well as informal sectors this is sometimes described as the biggest economy of welfare conclusion so with this we come to an end of this module on key definitions and concepts introduction to social policy what have we learned here we have learned about the meaning and definition and broader goals of social policy we have you've also been introduced to key concepts and principles and social policies such as redistribution equality rights social needs welfare state and Social Protection you will learn about all these concepts in greater detail in the forthcoming modules for now I hope this is a sufficient introduction I would encourage you to read some of the readings that have been listed as part of this course module there are also a variety of internet resources freely available to look at one of the places where you can go to to look at some of the social power social policy ideas and definitions is United Nations poverty reduction websites the UNDP website the World Bank website the government of India's Ministry of Rural Development websites the government of India's Ministry of social justice and empowerment website thank you very much for your time and I hope you found the module interesting

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