Social Policy in a Developing World

Social Policy in a Developing World

Edited by Rebecca Surender and Robert Walker

This volume provides a critical analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing social protection systems in the global south, and examines current strategies for addressing poverty and welfare needs in the region. In particular, the text explores the extent to which the analytic models and concepts for the study of social policy in the industrialised North are relevant in a developing country context. The volume analyses the various institutions, actors, instruments and mechanisms involved in the welfare arrangements of developing countries and provides a study of the contexts, development and future trajectory of social policy in the global South.

Chapter 11: Globalization and social policy in developing countries

Bob Deacon

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries


This chapter is concerned with the ways in which world interconnectedness, which has increased rapidly since the 1980s, has affected the nature of social problems in the developing world and the nature of the social policies prescribed to address them. The chapter first defines this increased interconnectedness in terms of the concept of globalization, measured by reference to the free movement of capital and trade and to the interconnectedness engendered by technical change. The chapter then assesses the broad effects of the specific neo-liberal mode of globalization on trade-based low-wage production, on the brain drain and on trade in services. It reviews evidence of increased inequity within and between countries, and discusses the impact of globalization on global social structure, including the dis-embedding of the globalizing middle class, on the balance of power between capital and labour, on gender relations and on ethnic divisions. The focus then shifts to social policy and the several ways globalization has affected it. The chapter shows that globalization has increased economic competition and the race to the welfare bottom, enabled new global actors to intervene in the policymaking process, given rise to the emergence of a global discourse about desirable social policy and social development, encouraged a global market in services such as health and education and challenged the territorial limits of welfare obligations. The role of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in the development process is briefly examined.

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