Alternatives to Social Security: An International Inquiry

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Few days pass without front page newspaper articles about the disarray in the American social security system and the oncoming crisis of exploding costs and imbalance between workers and retirees. New proposals to address these issues constantly surface from presidential candidates, Congress, and interest groups. Yet, few recognize that in the second half of the twentieth century, there has been a global expansion of social security systems, and there may be lessons to be learned from other societies. This collection of essays is designed to examine the diverse approaches developed in Australia, Britain, Chile, Hong Kong, Kenya, and Singapore. By analyzing different approaches—and different degrees of success—those debating public policy may find alternatives that can be adapted to meet American social needs.

Midgley and Sherraden have drawn together experts on the systems developed in Australia, Britain, Chile, Hong Kong, Kenya, and Singapore; they explore the different approaches—and the different degrees of success—these societies have confronted. An international perspective can enhance understanding of the problems and offer a sound basis for evaluating policy proposals that may reform the social security system. Scholars, researchers, policymakers, and the reading public will find this a stimulating collection. As Senator John Breaux notes, This book is essential reading for anyone serious about addressing the inevitable problems that will face the U.S. Social Security system.

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Editorial Reviews

Contributes to the current debate about Social Security in the US by examining systems in other countries that are very different, some newly in place and others long established and now considered normal and proper, even if not the way Americans do it. The examples include retirement pensions in Australia, provident funds in Singapore, noncontributory pensions in Hong Kong, privatized social security in Chile, alternative modes of provision in Britain, and indigenous support in Kenya. Introductory and concluding chapters suggest how such schemes couple inform the debate in the US. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865692459
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/1997
  • Pages: 168
  • Lexile: 1370L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

JAMES MIDGLEY is Harry and Riva Specht Professor of Public Social Services and Dean of the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley.

MICHAEL SHERRADEN is the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. Both have written extensively on social policy issues.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Alternatives to Social Security 1
2 The Social Assistance Approach and Retirement Pensions in Australia 17
3 Provident Funds and Social Protection: The Case of Singapore 33
4 Noncontributory Pensions in Hong Kong: An Alternative to Social Security? 61
5 Privatizing Social Security: Relevance of the Chilean Experience 75
6 Pension Reform in Britain: Alternative Modes of Provision 91
7 Indigenous Support and Social Security: Lessons from Kenya 105
8 Conclusion: Social Security in the Twenty-first Century 121
Index 141
About the Contributors 151
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