Reinventing social security worldwide
Back to essentials
- Vladimir Rys
- Paperback, 136 pages, 234 x 156 mm
- 05 May 2010
£15.99 - List price: £19.99 You save: £4.00
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"This short but informative and provocative book has much to recommend it."
Peter Saunders in International Journal of Social Welfare
"Drawing upon a lifetime of international experience in social security, a case is made in defence of the integrity of institutional 'social security' - earnings-related social insurance programmes. In this thought-provoking volume, Rys argues that the trend towards a blurring of the roles of social insurance and social assistance must be reversed."
Roddy McKinnon, Editor, International Social Security Review
"The intended audience for the book is policy makers and international organisations as well as students and researchers."
European Journal of Social Security
About This Book
Prior to the onset of the recent financial crisis, global trends of social security in industrialised societies were indicating a progressive disengagement of the State, in favour of tax-financed measures similar to social assistance, which may fail to ensure a basic standard of living. In this timely book the author, with his life-long experience of international social security, advocates reinstating social insurance by reducing the volume of income redistribution, increasing the transparency of money flows and improving citizen information. It will be of interest to a wide audience, including undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and lecturers, policy makers, social partners, professionals dealing with social security institutions and civil society groups.
Author BiographyVladimir Rys is a former secretary general of the International Social Security Association in Geneva. He has written a pioneering study on the sociology of social security. On retirement, he returned to academic research and studied social security in transition countries with special reference to the Czech Republic. His current research focus is on social security problems at worldwide level.
Part One: Social security evolution in a global perspective: what is at stake? A brief history of social security
Essential issues of social protection in our society
The new approaches to securing human existence in society
Part Two: Understanding social security in its societal environment: which methodology? A brief history of the sociology of social security
A macro-sociological approach to the study of social security
The use of macro-sociological factor analysis in comparative studies
Part Three: Reinventing social security in times of economic crisis: foundations of a new political consensus Adapting social security to a new societal environment
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Reinventing social security worldwide
The book entitled: 'Reinventing Social Security Worldwide: Back to essentials'; presents a brief history of social security and asserts for a change in social protection in order to combat the adverse effects of the global economic crisis. The author has tried his best to provide a useful review of literature on various interdisciplinary topics in the field to establish his point of view for a necessary return to these essentials. By taking into account the challenges of last three decades and merits and demerits of various social insurance programmes, he intends to explain why reinvention of social protection measures worldwide, is utmost to sail smoothly through global economic transitions. The book consists of three parts containing total seven chapters. Firstly, this review presents how the book is organized. Secondly, keeping in view the contents, it highlights which part of this book is about what, and how it warrants for the reinvention of social security under the new economic and social dynamics.
This book is a well-organized work discussing a range of issues in the field of social security. The author advocates for reinventing social insurance, which should allow persons to assess cost-benefit of their participation. He argues that in the wake of lower economic growth, aging of population tends to increase the costs of social protections; thus, with mandatory changes, social security should be in-place to address major risks. Hence, guaranteeing minimum benefits to population against social risks, reducing redistribution functions, enhancing transparency and efficacy of social security services are the main themes of this work.
The book is organized into three parts. Organization of arguments presented in seven chapters enables the readers to establish their opinion. Part one consists of three chapters dealing with global perspective of social security, issues, and approaches. In this part, by raising the issues of social protection, and social insurance the author has conducted a historical analysis of social security under the doctrines of communism (by arguing that communist social approach is not dead), neo-liberalism (by contrasting the ILO and World Bank approaches to social security), and democracy (where social security exists in theory to fulfill its mission).,
Part two covers three chapters and it examines the methodology to understand social security in various societal perspectives. Chapter four analyses social security in the context of sociology, chapter five analyses it in macro-sociological internal and external factors. Chapter six examines these in the context of comparative studies in post-communist societies.
Part three focuses on the ways to adapt social security particularly to the global economic crisis. In this part, the author suggests to maintain sufficient reserves for the period of crisis, to set social security independently from the traditional way of social security financing. One important point that needs to be elaborated here is the quest for a complete separation of social insurance and social assistance. Particularly, the author is more interested to protect social insurance fund that suits to developed nations where labor force is more formal and urban. While, he leaves financial responsibility for social assistance on states which however, will adversely affect developing countries where most labor force is informal and rural.
A closer look at Some Contents
This part presents contents chosen for the contemporary debate. It is worth noting that a symmetrical selection of contents in each part of the book is a major strength, which provides readers to develop a clear understanding on evolution of social security and certain contemporary issues. The two social security instruments - social insurance, social assistance, and the role of states in providing these are the focal points, on which author has presented views of managers and experts from ancient times to modern era. The book elaborates that how the two instruments of social security were positioned and were dealt in different eras, at individual and state level, in industrialized countries and developing world. For instance, rewards for services practiced in ancient Rome, mutual aid for funeral and sickness benefits in ancient Greece, and occupational welfare adopted in Germany as from the middle of the 16th century are few examples of social protections from ancient times.
The author argues that "the capitalist market economy remains the world dominating order; hence, the cost of social security falling on the enterprise will have to stay within reasonable limits so as not to hinder free competition in production and trade". This argument however, might not work in developing countries where stagnant economy may not be able to bear this indicated shift.
Scope of book
The book is sum of historical perspectives on social security, highlighting various contemporary issues, and analytical tools. The coverage of views of several experts on social security itself warrants that this book has an international coverage and scope. Therefore, the book can be a useful resource for policy makers, financial and social security organizations. The overall strength and coherence of book is high quality. Hence, without any hesitation, this book can be recommended not only to libraries but also to researchers and students in the field of welfare, social security, and social policy.
Reviewed by Mokbul Morshed Ahmad
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