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The Changing Faces of Economic Insecurity

The Changing Faces of Economic Insecurity

Copyright Date: 1966
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 168
  • Book Info
    The Changing Faces of Economic Insecurity
    Book Description:

    The Changing Faces of Economic Insecurity was first published in 1966. Were economic insecurities greater a half-century ago than they are today? Quantitatively, how do they compare? Qualitatively, what differences may be found? How did society meet the problems of insecurity a generation or two ago? How today? In a book that seeks to provide answers to such questions, Professor Turnbull provides a comparative study of the nature and extent of economic insecurity and the ways in which our society has sought to meet this challenge, fifty years ago and now. In his analysis he considers premature death, old age, unemployment, and accidental injury and sickness the “four horsemen” of economic insecurity. He examines society’s adjustments to these problems, the approaches used, the programs which have been developed, and the problems which remain. The analysis is carried out primarily at the microeconomic level; it deals with individuals and families and their budgets and income-maintenance problems rather than with aggregates of transfer payments and their effect on personal income. The findings of the study constitute valuable bench marks in the measurement of our social and economic progress. The book should be of particular interest to economists, sociologists, public administration officials, insurance firm personnel, and those in related business, government, or social science fields.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6476-4
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

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    (pp. v-vi)
    John G. Turnbull
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
    (pp. 3-12)

    A PROFESSOR teaching a class in economic security used to tell his students: "If we were to hold a reunion fifty years from now, about a quarter of you would not be here. You might like to look around and see if you can pick out those who would not be with us. You could, of course, start with me, since my absence is almost a certainty."

    This book, too, is about those who will not be with us — about the economic problems caused by their premature departure. But it is also an account of those who will be...

    (pp. 13-42)

    Premature death has been defined (p. 7) as death that leaves financial obligations unmet. A host of exceptions, intriguing conceptually but probably not important quantitatively, might be mentioned. A bachelor businessman—a sole proprietor—may die without heirs, but leaving a business and its employees. Failing to find a new owner, equally competent, the business may wither and the employees lose their jobs. This man’s death was not, I think, premature death. A more legitimate exception arises when a person dies without heirs but leaves an accumulation of unpaid bills.

    This view of premature death is not, however, operationally acceptable,...

  5. OLD AGE
    (pp. 43-65)

    Premature death is dying too soon, and old age, in the same context, is living too long: not too long in psychological or physiological terms, but too long in economic terms—outliving one’s means of livelihood.

    If one dies leaving no economic obligations unmet, premature death in our sense is not applicable, as we saw earlier. Similarly, if one dies with his working boots on, “old age” does not apply. But the old-age problem is more complex in various ways than premature death is.¹

    In the real world, many people do not die prematurely; they live too long. But both...

    (pp. 66-93)

    Premature death, old age, and accidental injury and sickness all lead to economic insecurity through the curtailment of income brought about by unemployment. Though unemployment is the cause in these cases, it differs in an important way from the kind of unemployment we shall talk about in this chapter. In these other kinds of economic insecurity, unemployment results from the inability of the person to work; the cause is internal to the individual. This is most clearly and obviously seen in premature death and disabling illness, but it also may be discerned in old age when productivity falls below some...

    (pp. 94-114)

    With this chapter we start to deal with the last of our insecurities, those brought about by sickness and accidental injury.

    Accidental injury is the unplanned sudden event, sickness the same kind of phenomenon, but gradual. Sophisticated variations in defining these terms need not detain us; this common usage will be enough for our purposes. We shall use the term illness to cover both kinds of case.¹

    Sickness and accidental injury are the severest on the individual of any of the risks we have been talking about, death excepted (we are excluding here minor first-aid cases), for several reasons. If...

    (pp. 115-130)

    Two preliminary comments must be made about nonoccupational illness. Data are more difficult to come by in this area than in any of the others thus far examined. And the available figures are sometimes cast in a form different from those used previously. The net effect of these two facts is to make analysis more complex and comparison less satisfactory. In premature death, old age, economic unemployment, and occupational illness, public programs provide the floor of protection, private programs the supplements. In nonoccupational illness, there is no basic public income and medical expense program, though there has been since 1957...

    (pp. 131-152)

    In everything thus far we have been talking of averages (defined here as means) of three kinds: (1) average incidence of insecurity, as for example in unemployment or illness; (2) average income loss, or its counterpart average, expense increase, resulting from the insecurity; (3) average ability to meet these insecurities. The use of averages does not necessarily yield a true picture of the kinds of situations we are discussing, for a number of reasons.

    Averages may be affected by extremes which cancel each other out and distort the dimensions of a problem. For example, if medical costs average $50 per...