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Welfare And Poverty 1

Welfare and Poverty

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Welfare And Poverty 2


The welfare state in the contemporary societies has become a core concern among the

social historians. These social historians are so much into the studies of social, economic and

the ideological manifestations in the entire process of shaping the gender ideals and the

poverty levels. Many scholars have come up and brought the clear concept of the welfare

state as being the already set policies that entail insurance programs that are there to protect

the citizens against the several hardships they face. The two main perspectives that have

been used to analyse the particular role of the welfare state in the contemporary societies are

the social democracy and liberalism.

First, according to social democracy and welfare, there is an approach which is

strategic in bringing ‘classical liberalism’ (Cunningham, Chapter 4.p 45). The primary

principle that was operated by the classical liberalism was on the minimal state. According to

this state, the manufacturers and the individuals were abandoned to partake their self-interests

without any disturbance from the federal governments (Gao, 2018, p.34). Also, it was not

considered as the state's responsibility in the promoting the social welfare and the economic

state. The different social challenges such poverty, unemployment, health problems and even

sanitation were all considered to be individual and behavioural causes (Cunningham, Chapter

4.p 45).

The initial concept of the social democracy is traced back to the nineteenth century. It

was at this particular time towards the last quarter of the century when there was a group that

was emerging based on political philosophy, the organisations and the political activism

(Huber, 2011, p277). These groups came and challenged the blames directed to the

individuals for their misfortunes. They drew attention to the evidence indicating the entire

structure and the economic inputs that were causing the social problems.
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The poverty surveys were conducted and pioneered by Charles Booth who carried it

in London, and in New York, the survey was done by Seebohm Rowntree. Also, through

another survey by Tawney published in 1931, it provided eloquent and a more compelling

case for social democracy adoption (Cunningham, Chapter 4.p 46). Through the surveys, it

depicted poverty as being an extensive and entirely beyond the control of any individual. As a

consequence, their conclusions led to different assaults, basing on the idea they were

underpinning the classical liberalism. Through the policies brought on board by the surveys,

they also indicated the entire growth of the acceptance where poverty was the core reason for

the complex social and the economic factors, hence were beyond the control of an individual

(Cunningham, Chapter 4.p 47).

One of the prominent strategies of the social democracy was realised during the

creation of the Labour Part initiated in 1906 (Cunningham, Chapter 4.p 46). Through the

strategy, it, first of all, began through the attempt made in securing the election of different

representatives belonging to the working class into parliament. The primary reason for the

fight of this representation was to begin the process of capitalist reforms. Through the

reforms, the governments have been able to realize the different attitudes emanating from the

blames given to individuals according to their poverty levels (Rödel, 2010 p.101). Therefore,

the governments have been radically approaching the issue and seeking for specific

interventions in the economic and welfare sectors so to create harmony and equality in the

contemporary societies.

Like liberalism, the social democracy has been seen to be part of the tradition of a

state which is limited, basing on the political rights and the even the social and civil liberties.

As a consequence, through the social democracy it has stated that for a particular state to

prosper and to be considered a model of progress, its governments need to be accountable and

competent. Social democracy is championing for the resistance of inequality which is

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extreme, on the other hand, it is not advocating for absolute equality (Hendrick, 2013, p134).

As a result, social democracy is not going so much beyond the ideals of liberalism. Besides,

the social democracy does not portray some of the constructive influences brought about by

the democratic socialism, especially when they stress that capitalism needs to be understood

on its own as a system. As a result, it is through this virtue where many people differentiate

social democracy and liberalism and making it a crucial ally of liberalism altogether.

Secondly, the neoliberalism was so much influenced by the socialism, especially in

the liberalism of the New Deal era together with Progressive periods. The social democrats of

Europe developed a welfare state along with a Keynesian strategy made through the

economic stabilisation just in parallel with the liberals from America (Marsland, 2016, p201).

Part of it was socialist, and part was liberal. There was also criticism of the neo-liberalism in

around 1970 where it emanated from the post-war of social democratic welfare state (Neo-

Liberalism and the Development of Social Policy and the Social Work After 1979, Chapter 5

p.64). Consequently, understanding the enterprise as fighting unemployment and also

spreading the social benefits, in addition to curbing capitalism, has enabled the construction

of political constituency which is durable.

Neo-liberalism has been associated with the social and economic policies undertaken

by the Conservative governments which existed in the years between 1979 and 1997 (The

Neo-Liberalism and the development of social policy and social work after 1979, Chapter 5

p.65). However, it is before 1979 that the different attempts to bring up and promote the neo-

liberal values were established (Ober, 2012, p.177). It is according to the realisation of the

criticism faced by the social democracy and its ideological attack after the welfare state was

established is when there was a rise in the neo-liberalism. The social workers then became a

major target in the neo-liberal critics of the welfare state in the years 1970 and 1980 (Neo-

Liberalism and the Development of Social Policy and the Social Work After 1979, Chapter 5
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p.63). The neo-liberals were against the limited forms of the welfare despite having promoted

the private welfare; they argued that it needs to be given restrictions to provide some form of

limited security (Coughlin, & Moon, 2009, p75). Therefore, for an ideal type of a neo-liberal

welfare system in the contemporary societies, the following three features promote the


First, the public welfare system should be entirely based on the needs of the people

rather than their rights (Neo-Liberalism and the Development of Social Policy and the Social

Work After 1979, Chapter 5 p.65). The neo-liberals argued that the benefits received from

rights should be replaced with the tested welfare which is based mainly on the criteria of

strict eligibility (Gray, & Agllias, 2009, p273). Secondly, the public welfare system should

give assistance which is temporal and also conditional. The neo-liberals maintained that the

unconditional welfare has a tendency of being corrupt and hence should be avoided at all

costs. The receipt received from the public support which includes housing, maintenance of

income and health care should be as a result of good character and also follow the

performance of duties and obligations. Lastly, the welfare needs to be delivered voluntarily or

through private organisations instead of state agencies (Neo-Liberalism and the Development

of Social Policy and the Social Work After 1979, Chapter 5 p.66).


In a nutshell, social democracy and the neo-liberalism have been used to analyse how

the welfare state of the contemporary societies has been operating. Through the social

democracy, the means of eradicating poverty amongst the members of a particular state

through accepting private ownership. On the other hand, the neo-liberalism has been used to

bring the public welfare system through; basing the welfare on needs and not rights,

temporary and conditional assistance and voluntary deliveries.

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Coughlin, R. M., & Moon, J. D. (2009). Responsibility, Rights, and Welfare: The Theory of

the Welfare State. Contemporary Sociology, 18(1), 75.

Cunningham, S. Social democracy and the development of social policy and social work

after 1945. Chapter 4 pp. 44-53

Gao, Q. (2018). Welfare, Work, and Poverty. Oxford Scholarship Online, 23-44.

Gray, M., & Agllias, K. (2009). Contemporary Issues and Debates on the Social Welfare

System. The Welfare State in Post-Industrial Society, 271-291.

Hendrick, H. (2013). Optimism and liberalism: children of the welfare state, 1945–79. Child

welfareHistorical dimensions, contemporary debate, 132-169.

Huber, E. (2011). The Social Democratic Welfare State. Social Democracy in Neoliberal

Times, 276-311.

Marsland, D. (2016). After the Welfare State: Real Welfare in a Free Society. Welfare or

Welfare State? 196-224.

Neo-Liberalism and the development of social policy and the social work after 1979.

Chapter 5 pp 61-67

Ober, J. (2012). Epilogue: Democracy after Liberalism. Demopolis, 177-180.

Rödel, U. (2010). Civil Society and the Welfare State. Towards More Democracy in Social

Services, 98-109.