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Reinventing social security worldwide

Reinventing social security worldwide: Back to essentials

Vladimir Rys
Copyright Date: 2010
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  • Book Info
    Reinventing social security worldwide
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-642-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. About the author
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. vi-x)
    Carmelo Mesa-Lago

    In the late 1960s, as a doctoral student at Cornell University, I read Vladimir Rys’s pioneering seminal essay published in 1964 on the application of macro-sociological factor analysis to social security and it significantly influenced my future research and career. Under the auspices of the Social Science Research Council, in the summer of 1976, I took 20 doctoral students, half from the US and half from Latin America, to an Inter-American training seminar held in Mexico City on the application of social sciences techniques to social security. Rys’s analysis of internal and external variables influencing the inception and evolution of...

  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The world economy is going through a serious crisis, which is having an impact on all types of societal institutions. Social security is in the front line, both on account of the volume of its financial flows and on account of its importance for the preservation of the minimum standard of living of every individual. This seems to be an opportune moment to review briefly the way the institution has developed since its beginnings, take note of the changes that have taken place in its societal environment and in the perception of its overall mission and bring home a few...

  6. Part One: Social security evolution in a global perspective:: what is at stake?

    • ONE A brief history of social security
      (pp. 9-24)

      There is no generally accepted and generally applicable definition of social security. What is most frequently referred to is the whole set of compulsory measures adopted by society to protect the individual and their family against the consequences of an unavoidable interruption or serious diminution of the earned income needed for maintaining a reasonable standard of living. This has the advantage of reducing the field of investigation to more concrete institutional or institutionalised measures, developed over a period of time with a relatively well-defined purpose.

      The cause of the insecurity of income is the materialisation of a risk that may...

    • TWO Essential issues of social protection in our society
      (pp. 25-52)

      The message of the brief history of social security developments worldwide that were reviewed in the previous chapter is fairly clear: the social security institution is in danger and steps should be taken to prevent its progressive institutional dismantlement. What is at stake is not only the preservation of its chief functions regarding the security of existence of the individual but also the preservation of some of the basic values of the society we live in. The call for a major institutional reform with a view to safeguarding social security should be logically accompanied by an effort to clarify the...

    • THREE The new approaches to securing human existence in society
      (pp. 53-60)

      In the first chapter of this book we briefly recalled the history of social security from the time of its institutional predecessors to its conceptual reorganisation and expansion in the post-war years and the beginning of its retrenchment in more recent decades. In this chapter we will review in more detail the changes that have taken place in our societal environment, leading to the situation of growing social insecurity throughout the globalised world and to the present economic crisis, the impact of which on the institution is still difficult to measure.

      Among the most important changes that have taken place...

  7. Part Two: Understanding social security in its societal environment:: which methodology?

    • FOUR A brief history of the sociology of social security
      (pp. 63-72)

      It would be rather difficult to try to establish a date on which the first sociological study of social security was presented to the interested public. Even before the middle of the 20th century, people concerned with this institution were writing essays that could easily qualify for this label, although ‘sociology’ is not once mentioned in the text.

      The search for origins becomes incomparably easier if we insist on the term ‘sociology of social security’ appearing in the title of the study. In such case, the obvious forerunner would be the Fourteenth National Congress of Sociology in Mexico, held in...

    • FIVE A macro-sociological approach to the study of social security
      (pp. 73-96)

      The historical survey of the sociology of social security outlined in the previous chapter has underlined the growing importance of comparative studies of social policy. This seems natural because the tools of a sociological analysis can only be developed and tested when applied to several societies. My own factor analysis presented in this chapter and developed as part of the research programme of ISSA in Geneva was directly conceived as a methodological tool for a comparative study.

      This reference goes back to my unpublished doctoral thesis, written in the middle of 1950s. The title was ‘Sécurité sociale en France et...

    • SIX The use of macro-sociological factor analysis in comparative studies
      (pp. 97-104)

      As mentioned in the previous chapter, this factor analysis, submitted for consideration to ISSA research bodies, was intended from the very beginning to serve as a tool for comparative studies. The idea was to accompany a descriptive presentation of a social security scheme with a brief survey of macro-sociological factors at work behind its creation and evolution, so as to make this ‘dynamic picture’ of the institution the object of comparison. The advantage of this approach was a better understanding of the significance, structure and functional operations of each scheme within its societal environment and hence a more precise comparative...

  8. Part Three: Reinventing social security in times of economic crisis:: foundations of a new political consensus

    • SEVEN Adapting social security to a new societal environment
      (pp. 107-114)

      It would be hardly feasible to attempt in this book and at this point in time a regular macro-sociological factor analysis of the position of social security institutions in times of economic crisis. But the previous chapters have given us the necessary parameters so as to be able to formulate a judgement on which to base our search for possible ways of preserving the institution from a lasting deterioration and progressive dismantlement.

      The essential problem of all social security measures based on social insurance has been known from the very beginning, and particularly from the time of the economic crisis...

  9. Final reflections
    (pp. 115-118)

    In this book I have tried to draw a lesson from a lifelong observation of the working of social security with a view to identifying a certain number of fundamentals that are highlighted by its historical evolution. If a sustainable development of social security is the goal, these fundamentals should be respected so as to preserve the institution for future generations.

    But what institution do we want, or, more precisely, what institution is likely to survive in view of the deep economic crisis of the present time? A brief overview of the history that was presented in the opening pages...

  10. References
    (pp. 119-122)
  11. Index
    (pp. 123-126)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 127-127)