Social Welfare and Economic Justice

Human well being is intricately tied to the pursuit of social welfare and economic justice.  As underscored recently by the American Political Science Association’s Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security and Social Justice in a Volatile World, the time is right for rethinking familiar assumptions about the relationship between state and society in the context of a broader understanding of social and economic citizenship.   At the macro level, developing greater awareness of the structural underpinnings of poverty, inequality and injustice is critical for constructing more inclusive and efficacious public policies.  At the meso-level, the critical issues and questions currently impacting the social economy involve the intersection of public governance and social mobilization.  Recognizing that the view that the government is the enemy of social entrepreneurship is at odds with historical evidence, and at odds with contemporary experience (Mulgan, 2006), it is critical to move toward public-private partnerships that work toward accessible and supportive engagement capable of catalyzing more appropriate and effective responses to contemporary social and economic problems.

Brandsen,Taco., Paul Dekker & Adalbert Evers. 2010. “Chapter 1: Civicness in the Governance and Delivery of Social Services.” Pp. 9-19 in Civicness in the Governance and Delivery of Social Services. Germany: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.

The market, the state, and the third sector have all been heralded as central agents in civilizing modern societies. It has been claimed that participation in voluntary associations enables people to learn civic skills and, in effect, to become more “civilized.” Likewise, there are claims about the civilizing effects of doux commerce – the ability of trade and commerce to mitigate conflicts and convert them into peaceful competition. And, according to many political and legal theories, democratic states and their institutions are the final bulwark of civil virtues. However, the voluntary sector can be a source of: particularism, market exploitation, or state oppression. This book, which brings together contributors from across Europe, argues that such sector perspectives should be set aside. It examines how the civicness and civility of organizations and individuals can be identified and encouraged in any institutional setting. Crossing traditional spheres and disciplines, the book explores the concept of “civicness” to search for the source of our modern civil society.

PDF Intro Chap Civicness in Gov

Dwyer, Peter.2004. “Race, Ethnicity, Citizenship and Welfare.” Pp.139-142 in  Understanding Social Citizenship: Themes and Perspectives for Policy and Practice. Bristol: Policy Press.

Provides students with an understanding of the concept of citizenship in relation to UK, EU and global welfare institutions; covers a range of welfare debates and issues; explores inclusion and exclusion; combines analysis and discussion of social policies and uses easy-to-digest text boxes.

Gonzales, Vanna. 2008. “Social Cooperatives and Empowerment: Assessing the Value-Working Added for the Citizen Consumer,” Working Papers, n. 31, ISSAN [Institute for Papers  the Study and Development of Nonprofit Organizations], Universita degli Studi di Trento. Trento, Italy.

In light of these developments, my paper makes four key contributions to the literature on social enterprises. First, I establish a conceptual framework for analyzing user empowerment among social enterprises which are involved in producing services that enhance the quality of life of marginalized citizens. Second, I develop an empirical model which connects two key functions of these social enterprises, social production and social mobilization, to two forms of empowerment critical to the fight against social exclusion: consumer empowerment and civic empowerment. I then turn to an empirical analysis of Italian social cooperatives in Emilia Romagna and Lombardia. On the basis of survey and interview data collected in 2001 from over 140 type A social cooperatives and their affiliated cooperative consortia and cooperative associations, I present descriptive statistics of user empowerment, discuss key factors influencing this capacity, and in light of relatively poor performance overall, provide suggestions for improving their capacity in the future.

PDF-Social Coops

Hahnel, Robin. 2005. Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation. London: Routledge.

In Economic Justice and Democracy Robin Hahnel argues that progressives need to go back to the drawing board and rethink how they conceive of economic justice and economic democracy. He presents a coherent set of economic institutions and procedures that can deliver economic justice and democracy through a “participatory economy.” But this is a long-run goal; he also explores how to promote the economics of equitable cooperation in the here and now by emphasizing ways to broaden the base of existing economic reform movements while deepening their commitment to more far reaching change.

Huo, Jingjing. “Theorizing the Third Way. “ Pp.7-50 in Third Way Reforms: Social Democracy After the Golden Age. Cambridge: Cambridge Press.

This book examines the transformation of contemporary social democracy through the concept of “third way” reforms. It proposes a set of theories about the possibility for continuing social democratic ideological adaptation, for ideologies to overcome institutional constraints in triggering path-breaking innovations, and for social democracy to bridge the insider-outsider divide. Empirically, the book utilizes these theories to account for social democratic welfare state and labor market reforms in nine OECD countries after the end of the Golden Age. Based on the logic of “public evils,” the book proposes that the ideologically contested nature of institutions provides incentives for institutional innovation. Social democratic ideology shapes the fundamental characteristics and content of the third way policy paradigm, and the paradigm’s practical implementation continues to be path-dependent on historical institutional settings.

PDF-Third Way Reforms pgs 7-50

Kettl, Donald. 1993.“Government and Market.” Pp. 21-41 in Sharing Power: Public Governance and Private Markets. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institute.

Reformers from both Left and Right have urged the US Government to turn as many functions as possible over to the private sector and to allow market competition to instill efficiency and choice. In fact, the Government has been doing just this for years: every major policy initiative launched since World War II has been managed through public-private partnerships. Yet such privatization has not solved government’s problems. Kettl shows that the conditions essential for competitive markets usually do not apply to the kinds of programs the Government assigns to the private sector. He uses case studies to demonstrate that as market imperfections increase, so do problems in governance and management. Extreme examples are Superfund program and the Department of Energy’s production of nuclear weapons. When competition does not exist, the Government must act as a “smart buyer”, knowing what it wants and being able to judge what it has bought. If it does not do so, the Government risks losing its sovereignty to the private suppliers. The author concludes that the issue is not more government bureaucracy, but a smarter bureaucracy, which, in turn, requires strong political leadership to build support for the resources needed and to change the bureaucratic culture.

Laville, Jean-Louis., Andreia Lemaitre & Marthe Nyssens. “Public Policies and Social Enterprise in Europe: the Challenge of Institutionalization.” Pp.  273-295 in Social Enterprise: At the Crossroads of Market, Public Policies and Civil Society. New York and London: Routeledge.

Looking at work integration, it is structured around a number of key themes (multiple goals and multiple stakeholders, multiple resources, trajectories of workers, public policies) developed through a transversal European analysis, and is illustrated with short country experiences that reflect the diversity of welfare models across Europe.

Laville, Jean-Louis & Marthe Nyssens. 2000. “Solidarity-Based third Sector Organizations in the “Proximity Services” Field: A European Francophone Perspective,” Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. 11(1): 67-84.

This article reviews the role of third sector organizations in the field of “proximity services” from a francophone perspective. We analyze how the new wave of initiative inside the third sector in France and francophone Belgium can be seen as providing institutional responses to state and market failures that arise from trust dependent and quasi-collective attributes of these services. These initiatives are often called “solidarity based third sector organizations,” a concept defined in this paper. A central assumption of this analysis is that the political context in which these services are delivered is especially important, particularly as reflected in the changing regulatory role of the state. This analysis takes, therefore, an economic sociology perspective.

PDF- Solidarity Based Third Sector

Pestoff, Victor.  1998.  Beyond the Market and State: Social enterprises and civil democracy in a welfare society. Aldershot: Ashgate.

This book explores the role of the social economy and civil democracy in transforming today’s welfare state in Sweden, while retaining public financing for universal social services. This can be achieved through cooperative self-management and greater citizen participation as co-producers. Separating the financing from the provision of universal social services and contracting out their provision to social enterprises can promote several important social values, such as enrichment of work life, improvement of the work environment and increased co-determination for the worker, the empowerment of citizens as co-producers of the services they developed, and finally the transformation of the welfare state into the welfare society.

Pestoff, Victor. 2008. A Democratic Architecture for the Welfare State. New York: Routledge.

This book addresses the need for a more democratic architecture for the European welfare state, opening new perspectives for developing alternative channels for direct citizen participation at the sub-municipal level of governance. Pestoff finds that neither democratic theory nor welfare state theory devotes adequate attention to the contemporary role of the third sector as a service provider or to greater direct citizen participation in the provision of welfare services. He shifts the focus of analysis from the input to the output side of the political system and explores new ways to promote a greater role for the third sector and more citizen participation in the provision of universal, tax financed welfare services.

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