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The second edition of Double Standard analyzes how and why social policy and welfare states evolved differently in Western Europe and the United States. Exploring common social problems—from poverty to family support to ethnic and racial conflict—the book shows the disparate consequences to these different approaches. The new edition includes the latest available statistical information, an analysis of the 2010 health care reform in the United States, and a discussion comparing the social consequences of the recent recession in the U.S. and Europe.
Russell's portrait of the development of social policy in Europe and America helps to explain not only the differences between the European and American welfare state, but also why the differences are important. Russell (sociology, Eastern Connecticut State U.) examines the consequences of the US and Europe's handling of common social problems such
In Double Standard, James W. Russell shows how and why different models of social and welfare policy developed in the United States and Europe. The third edition comparatively examines how Europe and the United States have handled common social problems such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, family support, health care provision, ethnic and racial conflict, and crime. These different social policy orientations have produced disparate social ways of life, ways of life that are now in contention for the future of Western societies. Retaining its exceptionally clear exposition of the relationship between social policy and the history of social thought, social theory, and political ideology, the third edition contains new material on: The Affordable Care Act in the United States compared to European health care programs The influence of Milton Friedman on the reduction of social spending and privatization of social programs Paid vacation differences between Europe and the United States A new Afterword on the continuing social effects of the 2008 recession (the “Great Recession”) in Europe and the United States A thorough updating of statistical information The third edition of Double Standard is a thought-provoking and up-to-date exploration of the distinctive differences in social policy in the U.S. and Europe that helps students approach key issues through a new perspective.
How 401(k)s have gutted retirement security, from charging exorbitant hidden fees to failing to replace the income of traditional pensions Named one of PW's Top 10 for Business & Economics A retirement crisis is looming. In 2008, as the 401(k) fallout rippled across the country, horrified holders watched 25 percent of their funds evaporate overnight. Average 401(k) balances for those approaching retirement are too small to generate more than $4,000 in annual retirement income, and experts predict that nearly half of middle-class workers will be poor or near poor in retirement. But long before the recession, signs were mounting that few people would ever be able to accumulate enough wealth on their own to ensure financial security later in life. This hasn’t always been the case. Each generation of workers since the nineteenth century has had more retirement security than the previous generation. That is, until 1981, when shaky 401(k) plans began replacing traditional pensions. For the last thirty years, we’ve been advised that the best way to build one’s nest egg is to heavily invest in 401(k)-type programs, even though such plans were originally designed to be a supplement to rather than the basis for retirement. This financial experiment, promoted by neoliberals and aggressively peddled by Wall Street, has now come full circle, with tens of millions of Americans discovering that they would have been better off under traditional pension plans long since replaced. As James W. Russell explains, this do-it-yourself retirement system—in which individuals with modest incomes are expected to invest large sums of capital in order to reap the same rewards as high-end money managers—isn’t working. Social Insecurity tells the story of a massive and international retirement robbery—a substantial transfer of wealth from everyday workers to Wall Street financiers via tremendously costly hidden fees. Russell traces what amounts to a perfect swindle, from its ideological origins at Milton Friedman’s infamous Chicago School to its implementation in Chile under Pinochet’s dictatorship and its adoption in America through Reaganomics. Enraging yet hopeful, Russell offers concrete ideas on how individuals and society can arrest this downward spiral. From the Hardcover edition.
Social Security Policy in Britain. . . is most welcome for having been written by Michael Hill whose reputation as a writer of knowledgeable, usable, readable books which are both summative and thematically structured is so well deserved. They have been the answer to many students prayers (and our own) in their struggle to see the social policy wood from the trees. Helen Bolderson, Brunel University, UK For anyone who wants to get a basic overview of the complex problems of social security in the UK today, and the various controversies surrounding it, this book is warmly recommended. Labour Research He (Michael Hill) presents an excellent exposition of the social security system accurate for mid-1989, the time of writing, successfully clarifying a very complex system. The book will be very useful to undergraduates doing relevant degrees, as well as to social work and other related professional students. I shall certainly be recommending the book to my students. Cordelia Grimwood, Benefits Hill s lucid discussion of administrative problems (the poverty trap ) and of the interaction among programs. . . is nearly as relevant to the US system as it is to the British. R.D. Robertson, University of Missouri, St Louis, US This major textbook examines the current state of British social security policy and explores the options for the future. Using a policy analysis approach, Michael Hill emphasises the need to understand the political processes which have shaped policy. He stresses the need to situate any proposals for reform of these policies in a realistic political, social and economic context. As well being concerned to explore the forces which have shaped policy, the book also shows how it has been implemented and explains how social security policy interacts with other public policies.
Our future depends very much on how we respond to three great challenges of the new century, all of which threaten to increase social inequality: first, how we adapt institutions to the new role of women - the ‘incomplete revolution' of our time; second, how we prepare our children for the knowledge economy; and, third, how we respond to the new demography, in particular low fertility and an ageing population. In this new book Gøsta Esping-Andersen - the leading analyst of the welfare state - examines how different societies have responded to these challenges. It focuses especially on the quest for gender equality, on the role of families in the reproduction of social inequalities, and on major inequities associated with an ageing population. Through comparative analysis he seeks to identify the kinds of welfare state reform that can optimize not only individuals' life chances but also collective welfare. The intellectual ambition is, in other words, to identify the mainsprings of a new and superior form of social equilibrium. This book will be of great interest to anyone concerned with gender and the changing role of women, with social and public policy, and with the future of the welfare state.
When Andrea Louise Campbell’s sister-in-law, Marcella Wagner, was run off the freeway by a hit-and-run driver, she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant. She survived—and, miraculously, the baby was born healthy. But that’s where the good news ends. Marcella was left paralyzed from the chest down. This accident was much more than just a physical and emotional tragedy. Like so many Americans—50 million, or one-sixth of the country’s population—neither Marcella nor her husband, Dave, who works for a small business, had health insurance. On the day of the accident, she was on her way to class for the nursing program through which she hoped to secure one of the few remaining jobs in the area with the promise of employer-provided insurance. Instead, the accident plunged the young family into the tangled web of means-tested social assistance. As a social policy scholar, Campbell thought she knew a lot about means-tested assistance programs. What she quickly learned was that missing from most government manuals and scholarly analyses was an understanding of how these programs actually affect the lives of the people who depend on them. Using Marcella and Dave’s situation as a case in point, she reveals their many shortcomings in Trapped in America’s Safety Net. Because American safety net programs are designed for the poor, Marcella and Dave first had to spend down their assets and drop their income to near-poverty level before qualifying for help. What’s more, to remain eligible, they will have to stay under these strictures for the rest of their lives, meaning they are barred from doing many of the things middle-class families are encouraged to do: Save for retirement. Develop an emergency fund. Take advantage of tax-free college savings. And, while Marcella and Dave’s story is tragic, the financial precariousness they endured even before the accident is all too common in America, where the prevalence of low-income work and unequal access to education have generated vast—and growing—economic inequality. The implementation of Obamacare has cut the number of uninsured and underinsured and reduced some of the disparities in coverage, but it continues to leave too many people open to tremendous risk. Behind the statistics and beyond the ideological battles are human beings whose lives are stunted by policies that purport to help them. In showing how and why this happens, Trapped in America’s Safety Net offers a way to change it.

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