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James Midgley

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James Midgley

The first chapter by James Midgley provides a broad introduction to the concept of social investment and the way it is used in different academic and professional fields. Noting that the term ‘social investment’ is poorly defined, he offers a definition and examines the meaning of terms such as ‘investment’, ‘consumption’, ‘income’, ‘assets’ and ‘capital’ which are widely used in economics. The chapter then reviews the different ways the term ‘social investment’ has been used in four academic and professional fields, namely social policy, nonprofit management, community studies and development studies where investment ideas have been influential since the 1950s. The chapter contends that scholars will benefit from understanding the way the concept of social investment has been employed in these different academic and professional fields. It concludes by suggesting that may be possible to synthesize these different approaches to promote a comprehensive and globally relevant interpretation that will enhance the academic and policy relevance of social investment ideas. Key words: social investment, international social welfare, social policy

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James Midgley

This chapter by James Midgley discusses asset building at the community level in the United States where community development programmes have a long history and have prioritized inventions that transcend traditional welfare approaches. Noting that the literature on social investment has paid little if any attention to investments at the community level, this chapter examines the way the federal and state governments of the United States, supported by nonprofit organizations, have sought to invest in low-income communities by mobilizing assets, expanding employment, increasing access to education and affordable housing, and raising standards of living. It begins by tracing the origins of the community social investment approach in the late nineteenth century, when the settlement house movement introduced a number of initiatives designed to deal with urban poverty and deprivation brought about by industrialization, urbanization and mass migration into the United States. These activities were subsequently augmented by programmes introduced during the War on Poverty in the 1960s. The chapter discusses the way these programmes have evolved and now comprise a variety of community and asset building initiatives throughout the country. It concludes by assessing the achievements as well as limitations of the community social investment approach in the United States. Key words: social investment, international social welfare, community development, United States of America

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James Midgley

Although social policy and development studies are now well-established interdisciplinary fields, they remain distinct and there is little sharing of ideas and information between them. Because of their common interest in promoting social well-being, this chapter makes a plea for scholars in these fields to collaborate more closely. It contracts social policy and development studies and discusses their historical evolution and current features. It points out that scholars in both fields have undertaken extensive research into social welfare in the Global South – albeit from different perspectives. Social policy has been preoccupied with state provision and the use of typologies to categorize national welfare systems, while development studies has focused on the role of multiple providers and linked the study of welfare to economic development. Nevertheless, their common interest in issues of welfare and development is conducive to forging a partnership which may ultimately foster a synthesis of their diverse perspectives.

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James Midgley

This chapter discusses the historical evolution and key features of social insurance and considers its role in development. It pays special attention to social insurance pensions, which are widely used to meet the income needs of retired workers in Western countries and increasingly in the developing countries where populations are ageing. Other approaches to funding pensions such as social assistance and mandatory retirement savings schemes are also discussed. The chapter then reviews some of the challenges facing social insurance such as coverage, equity, administrative effectiveness and cost. Finally, the chapter considers future directions for social insurance. Contrary to the claims of market liberal critics who advocate the marketization of social insurance, it argues that the challenges facing these schemes can be resolved without abandoning their basic principles. With appropriate modifications, social insurance can make a positive contribution to development and help to promote social justice for the world’s people.

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James Midgley

This chapter provides an overview of social assistance and examines its role in development. Although previously limited in scope, social assistance is being widely used today to alleviate global poverty. The chapter begins by tracing the evolution of social assistance from its formative association with charitable almsgiving to its current role in reducing poverty and deprivation. It then provides an overview of the key features of social assistance, noting that the use of the means test and other conditionalities are common features of these schemes. In addition to paying cash benefits, food subsidies and supplements are widely used. Unique forms of social assistance such as conditional income transfers, community works projects and local nutritional programmes targeted at women and children are discussed. Although social assistance is hampered by implementation, funding and other difficulties, the chapter shows that it is helping to meet the poverty reduction targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud

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Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud