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 18: Framing inequality and related policy responses

Claus Offe


Social policies consist in the distribution of entitlements to cash transfers and access to services to target populations. These populations have been framed by political elites and mass constituencies in terms of why it is that such policies must or must not be adopted. Codes used in such framing are deserving vs. undeserving poor, equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcomes, egalitarian distributive justice vs. allocative efficiency, consumption vs. investment, public vs. private responsibility, desert vs. rights vs. compassion, autonomy vs. dependency, generosity vs. affordability, rewards vs. incentives, social integration vs. system integration, and the like. The chapter offers some ideas and informed speculation concerning patterns of change that these frames and codes have been subject to in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) world since World War II.

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