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Economic Development More Important Than Democracy in Promoting a Welfare State - Essay Example

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Economic Development More Important than Democracy in Promoting a Welfare State Introduction Attaining welfare state has been a highly debatable topic in the economic arena. In fact, even in distinguishing and defining what constitutes it exactly has also been subjected to question and disputes…
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Economic Development More Important Than Democracy in Promoting a Welfare State
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Download file to see previous pages Essentially, this paper provides various definitions of the “welfare state condition,” attempts to juxtapose the democratic view with the perspective that favors economic development, and presents a plausible explanation why economic development is more important than democracy. Also, this paper will enumerate several practices that contribute to economic development, thereby, increasing the chances of attaining a welfare state. Definition of Welfare State Over the years, there has been no strict and general definition of the welfare state. Some relate the term to power and industrialisation while others try to refer it as one of the capitalist contradictions. A classic definition of the term is the state’s “responsibility for securing some basic modicum of welfare for its citizens” (Pierson & Castles, 2006, p.160). Apart from this definition, Asa Briggs (as cited in Flora & Heidenheimer, 2009, p.29) also defined the welfare state as the condition characterised by an organised power that uses politics and administration to change the direction of market forces. This can be done in three ways: (1) through ensuring that individuals and families could receive a minimum income regardless of their properties’ market value, (2) by assisting families and individuals meet their social needs, thereby, reducing their sense of insecurity, and (3) ensuring that all citizens, regardless of social class and status, are given the highest standards of social services (as cited in Flora & Heidenheimer, 2009, p.29). The Democracy View vs. Economic Development After the in-depth discussion of the term welfare state, it is worthwhile to present the split views of paternalism and the democracy. Paternalism connotes economic development while democratic views favor a free market model. Throughout the years, there has been an existing clash between paternalism model followed in the 18th century and the emerging free market model that was especially advocated by Adam Smith. As a result, there were several insights generated to support its stand as well as to oppose each other’s perspectives. Paternalism, as defined by Abercrombie and Hill (as cited in Varano, 1999, p.26), is an economic institution that organises the productive unit and regulates the relationships between the owners of the means of production and their respective subordinates. Moreover, it is composed of different access to power and resources and an unequal distribution of goods and services. Oftentimes, paternalism emphasises elite control and privilege towards the subordinates. It also attempts to lessen the worst effects of industrial capitalism through combining traditional and community norms. Contrary to this view, some sociologists and economists alike such as Richard Sennett (as cited in Varano, 1999, p.27), contend that paternalism was intended to mask the hidden interest of the industrialists to enforce high level of production. He continues by citing that paternalism only connotes elite oversight and community welfare instead of advancing the morale of the workers (Varano, 1999, p.27). The free-market model also extremely contradicts to the paternalistic model since the latter was based on some statute laws, common laws, and customs while the former allows the exploration of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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