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May 29, 2011

Page: 13/37

Home > 2011 Issues > May 29, 2011

Role of policy in enhancing welfare

By Manju Gupta

Towards a New Poverty Agenda in Asia: Social Policies and Economic Transformation, Arjan de Haan, Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, pp 261, Rs 695.00

EXPLORING the role of social policy in enhancing our well-being and in shaping the conditions for market forces and economic growth, the author, a senior lecturer in social policy at The Hague, looks at the ways in which social policies are formulated and implemented, particularly in Asia and in the context in which globalising forces affect people’s livelihoods as well as the opportunities for national public policies. It does so at a time when the global financial crisis is affecting livelihoods and well-being of the people all over the world, following a period of unprecedented growth, which contained both the rising inequalities and the causes of that financial crisis.

The book highlights the potential of evolvement of social policy across Asia and to some extent, in comparison with Africa and Latin America, with their different histories and levels of economic development. To promote such an understanding of social policy, this book is divided into three parts. The first part of the book focuses on the global trends and debates and the second on the comparative narratives of national social policy experiences. The third concentrates on the conclusion.

The book highlights the ways in which social policies impart economic growth: the negative impact of expending state finances and the moral hazard caused by state transfers; the importance of health, nutrition and educational policies for economic growth; the importance of policies related to re-distribution and social inclusion for economic growth and different cultures posed by sharp divisions for the possibility of carrying out economic reforms; and the importance of social security in helping to address adverse long-term consequences of economic shocks and for allowing people to take risks.

The author tries to bridge the analytical framework with a practical framework for supporting social policy making.

The book provides a wide canvas and brings out the similarities and differences in the national experiences, while simultaneously providing explanations. Three separate streams of studies – politics, sociology and economics – analyse the ground realities of Asian experiences.

(Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, B1/I-1, Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110 044;

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