Globalizing Welfare
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Globalizing Welfare

An Evolving Asian-European Dialogue

Edited by Stein Kuhnle, Per Selle and Sven E.O. Hort

From the welfare state’s origins in Europe, the idea of human welfare being organized through a civilized, institutionalized and uncorrupt state has caught the imagination of social activists and policy-makers around the world. This is particularly influential where rapid social development is taking place amidst growing social and gender inequality. This book reflects on the growing academic and political interest in global social policy and ‘globalizing welfare’, and pays particular attention to developments in Northern European and North-East Asian countries.
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Chapter 5: Welfare development amid crises: what Hong Kong can learn from the Nordic experiences

Raymond K. H. Chan


Welfare models in the Nordic countries and Hong Kong represent two distinctive and probably opposite types. Faced with financial crises and criticisms, changes have been adopted in both places in recent decades. The Nordic model has remained more or less intact, while its basic values of solidarity and equality have been maintained. By contrast, although the Hong Kong welfare system has experienced certain expansion, no fundamental change to its adherence to neo-liberal and conservative orientations can be observed. In a sense, the recent economic crisis further sustained its initial principles and values. Although values such as equality and solidarity are common in the local welfare discourse as a political slogan, the policies eventually adopted in the past two decades do not actually reflect these values. These policies seem to be incapable of tackling social problems and, to the contrary, are promoting uncertainty and even contributing to social problems.

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