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In the second edition of Double Standard, James W. Russell shows how and why different models of social and welfare policy developed in the United States and Europe. He comparatively examines how Europe and the United States have handled common social problems such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, family support, health care provision, ethnic and racial conflict, and crime. These different social policy orientations have produced disparate social ways of life, ways of life that are now in contention for the future of western societies.
Today Europeans see their strong welfare states as necessary to counter the worst features of unrestrained capitalism. They pay high taxes to support generous social benefits. Americans, to the contrary, have been conditioned to shudder at the idea of a welfare state, upholding instead a laissez-faire faith in market solutions to social problems. They pay low taxes and have few tax-subsidized benefits.
This new edition includes the latest available statistical information as well as an analysis of the 2010 health care reform in the United States. The book also compares the social consequences of the latest recession in Europe and the United States.
Note to the Second Edition vii
1 Introduction: From Social Problems to Social Policies 1
2 The Social Worldview of Medieval Christianity as Prologue 7
3 Secular Transitions and Assumptions 13
4 Marx, Durkheim, and the Limits of Laissez-Faire Capitalism 25
5 From Theory to Ideology 35
6 The Origins of Social Policy in Europe and the United States 43
7 Alternative Approaches to Social Policy 53
8 Social Cohesion and Inequality 63
9 Poverty 75
10 Unemployment: The Sword of Damocles 87
11 Support for Child Raising 103
12 Support for the Aged 115
13 Health Care 123
14 Ethnic and Racial Policy 133
15 Incarceration as Social Policy 149
16 Summary: Principles for Progressive Social Policy 153
Afterword: Social Impacts of the Great Recession in Europe and the United States 159
About the Author 195