Does An Unconditional Basic Income Provide Higher Effectiveness and Efficiency? An Analysis of the Social Security Systems of Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom

Does An Unconditional Basic Income Provide Higher Effectiveness and Efficiency? An Analysis of the Social Security Systems of Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom

An Analysis of the Social Security Systems of Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom

eBook - 2014
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The current social security systems in Europe have not been able to deal with increased traditional and new risks such as unemployment or work-life balance. One suggested solution to this problem has gained more popular and academic support in recent years: the idea of a universal, unconditional basic income (UBI). This study, therefore, examines whether and how UBI could support social security systems in the UK, Germany and Sweden in order to achieve their aims and fulfill their functions. Since effectiveness and efficiency describe the functionality of social security systems, the study focuses on these two aspects. These aspects will be used to theoretically discuss expected effects of UBI along with the main aims and functions of key policies in each country in regard to their effectiveness and efficiency. In comparison with current social security schemes in each country, the study demonstrates that UBI is able to deal more effectively with several traditional and new risks, despite problems with higher expectations and living standards. UBI provides basic needs and supports people in need.   Auszug aus dem Text Text sample: Chapter 5, SOCIAL SECURITY: Similar to welfare, social security is a very broad term and captures many different aspects (Millar 2003: 7). Despite this similarity and the dependency of social security on the respective welfare type, social security cannot be considered as equivalent to the latter. For instance, Tony Fitzpatrick, who examined perspectives on welfare theories and how these perspectives capture aspects of welfare, argues that the experience of security does not necessarily result in welfare (Fitzpatrick 2001: 6). According to him, marriage has often been seen as a source of security for women. They were not exposed to market forces but relied on their husbands. They, thus, enjoyed security on the one hand
but lost their independence and freedom on the other hand. But this dependency may result in a low level of welfare, as welfare also includes aspects of happiness, preferences, needs, desert and relative comparisons, which capture independence and freedom. Social security, therefore, is related to and dependent on welfare but needs to be treated separately. It is consequently the aim of this chapter to examine definitions and concepts about social security. This will explain why it is better to focus on social security policies and their aims, objectives and functions in order to analyse social security and thus the research question. How difficult it is to define social security is illustrated by the following question. Who faces more security: a person with a bad but secure job or a person with a good but insecure job (ibid.)? This question is hard to answer. An answer depends on the individual needs and preferences, based on their ideological perspective (Standing 2009: 296-298). Hereby, it is important to stress that security does not mean that all needs are satisfied or that all satisfied needs cause security. It does also not imply that security is the reverse of risk. An individual may face risk but still feels secure, due to knowledge that their faced risk will not negatively affect their living standards for instance (Clegg 2008: 150; Fitzpatrick 2001:6). As mentioned above, the perception of security not only differs individually but also collectively. Definitions of social security, therefore, depend on the context and location. According to Walker (Walker 2005: 4-6, 21-22), the meaning of social security is more specific in most countries of continental Europe while in Britain it is much more encompassing. That social security definitions and schemes can vary is also illustrated by the definition of the International Labour
Organisation (ILO).The ILO is a United Nations agency and has 183 member states. Although it had a dominant role in international social security matters in the 20th century, ist role changed in the mid-1990s. The International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank became more significant, also in matters regarding social security. They, therefore, were able to displace the ILO (Deacon, Hulse & Stubbs 1997, 73-78; Yeates 2003: 63-64). ILO, however, announced the convention C102 about social security minimum standards in 1952. In order to guarantee social security to ist citizens, a state has to provide at least three of the following parts: - medical care, - sickness benefit, - unemployment benefit, - old-age benefit, - employment injury benefit, - family benefit, - maternity benefit and - survivors' benefit. Either unemployment benefit, old-age benefit or employment injury benefit has to be one of these three parts (ILOLEX 1952). Although schemes can differ significantly from each other, it is therefore possible to provide social security according to ILO standards. For instance, one scheme may focus on medical care, sickness and employment injury benefits, while another focuses on old-age, family and survivors' benefits. Due to the fact that unemployment benefits, old-age benefits or employment injury benefits are emphasised, decommodification represents the core idea of social security. It aims to decrease the dependency of people on the markets, but also to enable them to create means for their current needs and future plans (Millar 2003: 7). This is also represented by a definition of the International Social Security Association (ISSA), an international organisation that supports national social security agencies and also emphasises aspects that create decommodification and labels medical care as secondary: 'Social
security may be defined as any programme of social protection established by legislation, or any other mandatory arrangement, that provides individuals with a degree of income security when faced with the contingencies of old age, survivorship, incapacity, disability, unemployment or rearing children. It may also offer access to curative or preventive medical care' (ISSA).   Biographische Informationen Wolfgang Müller was born 1981 in Mistelbach. The author graduated as Master of Science at Lund University in 2012. During his studies, the author gained wide experience in the field of social security and human rights. For instance, the author was engaged as human rights observer for the non-governmental organisation International Peace Observers Network in the improvement of the human rights situation in the Philippines. Additionally, the author occasionally writes for the online-magazine Basic Income News.
Publisher: Hamburg : Diplomica Verlag, 2014
Edition: 1st ed
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9783954896004
9783954891009
Branch Call Number: Electronic book
Characteristics: 1 online resource (81 pages)
Additional Contributors: ProQuest (Firm)

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