While welfare has been subject to pronounced criticism throughout the twentieth century, social insurance has consistently enjoyed the overwhelming support of European policy makers and citizens. This volume argues that the emergence of social insurance represents a paradigmatic shift in modern understandings of health, work, political participation, and government. By institutionalizing compensation, social insurance transformed it into a right that the employed population quickly came to assume.
Theoretically informed and based on intensive archival research on disability insurance records, most of which have never been used by historians, the book considers how social science and political philosophy combined to give shape to the idea of a "social" insurance in the nineteenth century; the process by which social insurance gave birth to modern notions of "disability" and "rehabilitation"; and the early-twentieth-century development of political action groups for the disabled.
Most earlier histories of German social insurance have been legislative histories that stressed the system's coercive features and functions. Making Security Social, by contrast, emphasizes the administrative practices of everyday life, the experience of consumers, and the ability of workers not only to resist, but to transform, social insurance bureaucracy and political debate. It thus demonstrates that social insurance was pivotal in establishing a general attitude of demand, claim, and entitlement as the primary link between the modern state and those it governed.
In addition to historians of Germany, Making Security Social will attract researchers across disciplines who are concerned with public policy, disability studies, and public health.
Greg Eghigian is Associate Professor of History, Penn State University.
American social welfare policy has produced a health system with skyrocketing costs, a disability insurance program that consigns many otherwise productive people to lives of inactivity, and a welfare program that attracts wide criticism. Making Social Welfare Policy in America explains how this happened by examining the historical development of three key programs—Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, and Temporary Aid to Needy Families. Edward D. Berkowitz traces the developments that led to each program’s creation. Policy makers often find it difficult to dislodge a program’s administrative structure, even as political, economic, and cultural circumstances change. Faced with this situation, they therefore solve contemporary problems with outdated programs and must improvise politically acceptable solutions. The results vary according to the political popularity of the program and the changes in the conventional wisdom. Some programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, remain in place over time. Policy makers have added new parts to Medicare to reflect modern developments. Congress has abolished Aid to Families of Dependent Children and replaced with a new program intended to encourage work among adult welfare recipients raising young children.
Written in an accessible style and using a minimum of academic jargon, this book illuminates how three of our most important social welfare programs have come into existence and how they have fared over time.
In nearly every industrialized country, large aging populations and increased life expectancy have placed enormous pressure on social security programs—and, until recently, the pressure has been compounded by a trend toward retirement at an earlier age. With a larger fraction of the population receiving benefits, in coming decades social security in many countries may have to be reformed in order to remain financially viable.
This volume offers a cross-country analysis of the effects of disability insurance programs on labor force participation by older workers. Drawing on measures of health that are comparable across countries, the authors explore the extent to which differences in the labor force are determined by disability insurance programs and to what extent disability insurance reforms are prompted by the circumstances of a country’s elderly population.