Globalism, Regionalism and Social Policy: Framing the Debate

Item Reference: 
UNU-CRIS Occasional Papers
Publication Date: 
Publication Place: 
Publication Language: 
Working Paper Type: 

First let us define social policy. Social policy may be defined in a number of ways that complement each other. Broadly speaking, it refers to “collective interventions directly affecting transformation in social welfare, social institutions and social relations” (Mkandawire 2001:1). At one level it is about policies and practices that support the means of social participation – typically those services in the domains of health and social care, income maintenance, employment (or livelihoods), housing and education. At another level social policy may be understood as those mechanisms, policies and procedures used by governments, working with other actors, to alter the distributive and social outcomes of economic activity. These mechanisms and policies may be conceptualised as being constituted of three strands: redistribution, regulation and rights. Redistribution mechanisms alter, usually in a way as to make more equal, the distributive outcomes of economic activity. Regulatory activity frames the activities of businesses and other private actors so that they take more account of social aims and impacts. The articulation of social rights leads to some (more or less) effective legislative and institutional mechanisms to ensure citizens access their rights. Social Policy within one country is made up, then, of Social Redistribution, Social Regulation and the promulgation of Social Rights...