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The history of welfare in Europe showcases both long term political periods and short term epochal changes. More than century has passed since the German chancellor Otto Von Bismarck pioneered the principle of social policy and over fifty years have passed since the concept of 21st welfare state emerged in the continent characterized by wars (Citizen Advice 2010, p 1-100). In each of the above scenarios, scholars and statesmen came up with a different understanding of what public responsibility and social justice. Some of the fundamental principles under which the state is founded were altered by the new belief with reference to public responsibility and social justice (Citizen Advice 2010, p2). However, since this period, the issue of public responsibility and social justice has been evolving in line with the changing circumstances and political environment by the bureaucrats who monitor matters in the society in normal times (Citizen Advice 2010, p3).
When basic goals are being put into consideration, epochal redefinitions occur. Over fifty years ago the architecture of modern welfare state related to Gustav Moller and Lord Beveride of England and Sweden respectively were like alarm responses for a need for consolidation of democracy and new principles on public responsibility and social justice (Citizen Advice 2010, p 3). Whereas we have democratic responsibility in Europe we do not have social cohesion. The dynamism of the world's economy is leading us to a society that needs both democratic and social cohesion (Citizen Advice 2010, p 4). The new form of economy calls for new principles and standpoints when it comes to our model of social policy. The current position of Europe when it comes to social issues is not different from that after the Second World War. Therefore there is a need to shape up the current social structure and it's no longer ca time to apply the expertise of technicians and bureaucrats. In 2010, the department of work and pensions presented the 21st welfare state document to the parliament whose the main objective was to reform the current system (Citizen Advice 2010, p 4). The document established the weak points of the current system and has also proposed reforms (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 22).
The government has been using millions of pounds every year to try and tackle the issue of poverty and treat any sign of poverty (Citizen Advice 2010, p 5). However, these big sums of money all have gone to waste since the government did not address the main root cause of poverty in the country (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 1).
The main aim of this essay document is to review the current benefit system so as to help control poverty (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 5). The new system targets the root cause of poverty which is family breakdown, alcohol and drug addiction and too much dependency (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12). The benefits system has been like a cage for the poor increasing their dependency and poverty. The issue of dependency is what is making the government to use millions of pounds every year solving as problem that seems to incur every year (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 15). These problems in our social setup cannot be separated and they are interrelated and the solution does not lie with giving financial aids instead the solution lies in the society as a whole and the benefits system has a part to play in getting solutions to this problem (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 21).
The benefits system will greatly help in amending issues such as personal responsibility and shaping up of certain social misbehaviors such as drug addiction (Citizen Advice 2010, p 19). The main aim is to end a culture which has really affected negatively the life of individuals, families and communities, this culture is the culture of unemployment, the current benefits system has not been a big supporter of work therefore, the main aim is to change the system so as to develop a system which encourages work and all the positive outcomes associated with it (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12). The document has upheld the principle of social justice by ensuring that the persons on the ground consult with the British people so as to establish what they suggest when it comes to work and other public responsibilities (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 20). The key ideology surrounding the paper is that, most of the root causes of poverty are derived from the social life of individuals, families and communities overwhelmed with poverty and dependency (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 14).
This means that, there is a need to review the current social setup of the country so as to come up with a more responsible public that embraces work and ready to reap the benefits of working (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 8). The social problems affecting the communities faced with poverty and dependence cannot be solved through political intervention rather than using the people themselves to help themselves (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12). The document shows the dedication of the government towards the new initiative. For example, the government has promised to assist the people to look for jobs (Citizen Advice 2010, p 12). However, this will happen if and only if, the people themselves are ready to take up the jobs or they are also looking for jobs. The citizens are also required to take up work when up is available but not avoid it (Citizen Advice 2010, p 14). Therefore this shows that the key issue in this paper is to develop a society that works collectively towards the success of the less fortunate in the society (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). This is mainly by assisting them get over their social problems, seek economic empowerment trough working and be ready to work with the government hand in hand so as to receive assistance (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 17).
The new system seeks to change the current way of assisting people living with poverty and dependency (Citizen Advice 2010, p 14). The current benefit system promotes the issue that people should be given government incentives other than go out and work. However, the new system seeks to encourage work as a way of improving people's lives, the new system is dedicated to helping people move forward through taking up jobs while giving a helping hand to those in dire need (Citizen Advice 2010, p 16). The system is more effective than the old system, this is mainly because, people working will have higher income than those expecting to receive money from the government, the system also seek to increase public responsibility and accountability through ensuring that households and families have something to do to avoid vices such as drug abuse, family breakups and overdependence on the government (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 4).
The new form of system is also aimed at increasing the income of those people living in poverty. This is mainly because the income received from working is higher than that received from benefit schemes (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 15). In the last year, there were millions of people who have the potential of working and supporting themselves (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 15). This population ends up languishing in poverty, this is mainly because the benefit system is a more or less a give and take system. This is because after receiving the payment from the department, most of the citizens end up paying the money out either through taxes or insurance policies (Citizen Advice 2010, p 23). The benefit system is very bureaucratic and keeps people away from working and hence making them stick in poverty, through earning a very low income and the same time use the money to pay out taxes and insurance policies. It is very vital do away with this policy since it does not only contribute to economic failure but also increase social misbehaviors and vices (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 10). This is because it encourages laziness and idleness since it tends to create an atmosphere that tends to give an impression that even if I don't work I am under a benefit scheme which means I will receive an income at the end of a particular. However, the people do not know that the system contributes greatly to their social failure and economic inferiority (Citizen Advice 2010, p 12). The new system is aimed at increasing public responsibility and social justice (Citizen Advice 2010, p 12).
The new system is going to bring about social justice by ensuring that there is no particular group of persons responsible for contributing in the national income whereas the other group is benefiting from the fruits of their labor, this is through ensuring that all the citizens contribute to national development through paying taxes and other state obligations (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 10). The system increases public responsibility by ensuring that the public works so as to achieve its success economically and overcome their social problems (Citizen Advice 2010, p 14). The system also tends to increase state welfare by assisting those people without jobs to secure jobs and support themselves (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4).
The new system also tends to make the country and the citizens adapt to the current social and economic circumstances (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4).
This includes demographic changes and changes in the world economy such as the global economic recession (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 15). The country expects a change in the current population which means that it will reach a point where the government will have a problem when it comes to affording the cost of the benefits system (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 11)). This means that there will be a continued increase in the number of people languishing in poverty since the government will not have the potential to support the large population (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). The increase in the number of people with poverty means an increase in the number of social vices such as drug abuse and family break ups. Before the global economic recession there were nine million citizens were under the benefit system (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). And about fifty percent of this population had the potential to work (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 13). This means that, the high number of people under the benefit system cannot be attributed to the effects of the economic recession such as lying off of workers (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 4).
Social problems such as drug abuse and family breakups can be tackled by pushing more and more citizens into working positions (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). This will help in reducing the costs associated with the benefits system since less people will be dependent on the government (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). A substantial effort will result into a complete reform of the current system by the government hence reduction of poverty. There will be more people working hence reducing the costs incurred by the government on the benefit system but also increasing the government's income through taxes, hence ensuring that the country keeps up with the current world economy (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). Increasing the number of people working means that the government will not have to pay huge sums of money to the benefits system (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12). The new system has observed from previous reforms attempted by the government to edit the benefit system that the system will not succeed unless we have a structural approach which will give the public the morale to work. This includes giving those people working incentives and reviewing the way they are taxed and other income related benefits (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4).
This will encourage households and families to work since their earnings will be high. The government can even assure the people that there will be no writing off of employees but less than one condition which is that, the government will not tolerate dependence. The government will also reward rather than penalize move by the persons under the benefit scheme to save for retirement or acquiring a permanent home (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 16).
The current benefit system has failed to effect behavioral changes hence increasing public irresponsibility and social injustices (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4).
The benefits system has not put into consideration the negative behavioral changes it has caused in the society. This is because, the system has is complex and gives little financial incentives which are the main causes of increasing number of people who are not working in the country (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 15). This greatly increases poverty, poor health and mental instability; this also increases the probability of one being involved in crimes and other vices such as drug abuse. There have been changes in the benefits system but they have all failed to address the current problem of poverty and increased unemployment in the country (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). This trend increases social problems in the society and even the future generations may be faced with the current problems since parents with low incomes, no educational qualifications and poor health are more likely to pass the same trait to their children, this means that the future generation is expected to be faced with same problem and with the growing population the problem may be bigger (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12). The system also increases injustices in the society since it leaves people with little financial incentives whereas other groups of people enjoy good financial incentives. The system is also not considerate of its impacts on other aspects of life especially social life (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 18).
Since the ancient times, especially in Greece and Rome, philosophers have argued that, there is need for personal responsibility as a very important ingredient in ensuring that a society flourish and the members succeed (Ministry of justice 2010, p 5).. According to Aristotle, all individuals should take part in actions which will contribute to the development and wellbeing of the society (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 14). This includes contributing to the civic life in the society through carrying out of certain actions and duties (Ministry of justice 2010, p 5). Historians in Greece and Rome also spoke of the importance of ensuring that rights and responsibilities are not separated in a given community (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4).
The philosophers stressed that ensuring rights and responsibilities work hand in hand is a way of maintaining a balance of nature (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12). A normal human being should not only be identified as having certain rights such as rights which allow for preservation and prosperity but a human being should also have duties to perform to the community and the society at large (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). The citizens should also have responsibilities towards other human beings in their quest to attain happiness in life (Ministry of justice 2010, p 5). The benefits system does not foster individual responsibility towards the society and to a great extent does not allow for the right of preservation and prosperity, balancing of an individual's rights and responsibility means that, the person has been given room to prosper and on the other hand, the person has certain obligations to perform towards the society and fellow human (Ministry of justice 2010, p 5).
The new system has several impacts on the social and economic life of the people (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). The system is expected to encourage more people to join working institutions and inform them of the benefits they will receive through working which includes more earnings and higher financial incentives (Ministry of justice 2010, pr 5). The system has prioritized several issues such as addressing social problems being faced by poor people as a way to assist them eliminate poverty and dependency (The 21st welfare state 2010, p 4). The new system will be aimed at ensuring that those people under the benefits system and have the ability to work secure jobs so as to increase their earnings hence eliminating the high level of dependency which greatly contributes to poverty and social vices (Ministry of justice 2010, p 5). The system ensures that there is a balance between individual rights and responsibilities through the following ways;-
The system ensures that one earns after working (Disability alliance 2010, p 12). It is the right of a citizen to be protected and provided for. However it the citizen also has responsibilities and obligations to the state, such obligations include payment of taxes and contribution to the social welfare of the community (Disability alliance 2010, p 12). One will not be said to be paying taxes whereas the money that he is paying taxes from he/she has received free of charge (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 16). The new system balance the responsibility of the government, i.e. protect and provide for the citizens by assisting the citizens to secure jobs that will help them escape poverty and attain financial stability, the new system also upholds government responsibility towards the citizens as a way of upholding the rights of the citizens by giving them income based benefits and rewards for their efforts to establish themselves economically (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 13).
The system also states responsibilities in the side of the citizens, this includes, the government will assist the people secure jobs, but the people themselves will also show the interest and morale of working (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 13). The above balance of rights and responsibilities is one of the strongholds of the priorities of the new system since it means that, the country will have to attain poverty and other social vices in the society not through the efforts of one party but the whole society will be responsible for ensuring this happens (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 21).
The priorities of the new system also balances individual rights and responsibilities by ensuring that, it is not only the government which will be giving but the population also will be responsible for working, earn an income and pay their taxes as revenue to the government (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 22). The government will use the taxes to strengthen weak areas in the economy through development hence creating more job opportunities. It is the responsibility of the public to ensure that this job positions are occupied so as to foster economic development (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 22). Through these new priorities, the government has given members of the public their right to personal preservation and prosperity by offering to give assistance in form of searching for jobs and increasing their financial incentives (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 10).
The new priorities are also outlined in a way that will make the public more responsible. This is through ensuring that the members of the public work so as to earn an income but not earn an income for free (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 14). Even though the new priorities seek to reduce the taxes charged on who have chosen to work instead of waiting for the benefits from the ministry, the citizens will be responsible for paying taxes (Department of work and pensions 2010, p 12).
In conclusion, the department of work and pensions is trying to reduce social problems associated which bring about poverty through reviewing the current benefits system by encouraging people to work so as to earn their own income, reduce social vices such as drug and alcohol addiction and family breakups so as to reduce poverty.