Human Societies in general comprises different social classes with inhabitants ranging from privileged to under-privileged. There exist a number of philosophies to cater social needs of different establishments and in accordance with them people select their methodologies, policies and overall strategies
History of Social Welfare and Social Work
A program initiated with a vision to provide assistance, support, limited income and services that can benefit the needy in a society can be defined as undertaken for the social welfare. Societies face numerous problems especially the low-income families and those which have no income at all, social work involves analysis of practices suggested by social scientists, conducting research to understand the areas causing problems, evaluating solutions and devising strategies to improve the life of those suffering with poverty or injustice. Social work is aimed at proving social welfare as it’s focused at positively affecting human living conditions, life style, health, education, food ammunitions. Any government or non-governmental organization can start serving humanity with their social work aimed at the welfare of the people in their community. Providing each individual with quality education, every patient with proper medical facilities, goods and services at affordable prices, shelter to tragedy striven, employment opportunities and assistance to old citizens are the services social welfare organizations usually provide to the humanity. According to the residual concept of social welfare an individual who has left with no other means of help from his family, work or any where else and has a cause to defend his need would be considered for the sustenance provided by the state.
Welfare provision is often seen as being for the poor. This was the dominant model in English-speaking countries; the English Poor Law (1598-1948) was exported to many other countries. This has been taken as the model of a residual system of welfare, in which welfare is a safety net, confined to those who are unable to manage otherwise. (Spiker, 1995)
In the light of institutional concept of social welfare state tries it’s best to protect people from the cost they would have to incur for their survival in an industrialized capitalist market, here the cause of need is not the driver but the need itself is. In this system every social class can be benefited. This concept serves the entire public by establishing development authorities, educational institutions, hospitals, military and law enforcement. UK and Sweden practice Institutional concept of welfare for its state.
There is a concept of liberalism in United States that emphasizes on individual liberty strictly denying restrictions imposed by state, religion or social structures. This liberalism has three classes, classic, social and neo liberalism. Classic liberalism emphasizes strongly over individual liberty and minimum hold of state. The philosophy here supports individual rights of property, free trade, and the decision one makes out of his rational mind-set. Social liberalism has an added economic and social aspect of politics. It highlights the need for the whole society to preserve individual’s right of liberty. It’s usually been applied in mixed economies and with government providing services to private enterprises conducting their business and consumer services. Its philosophers consider lack of basic human needs like education, health and employment triggers the threat to individual as well as social liberty. Neoliberalism suggests economic liberty as the foundation of economic development for any nation. Income taxes, individual’s right of property, deregulation, trade liberalization etc are the pre-requisites of neoliberalism.
Conservative philosophers believe in the rule of law over liberty and individual rights. They consider implication of law mandatory on the economic, political and social ideology of people. Classical conservatism prioritize legacy of laws over individual’s speculated rational decisions. It has tradition and religion codes focused at the perseverance of both. In fiscal conservatism there is a limit to all the taxes, government intervention and budgetary laws. Social conservatism is centered at preserving social norms and cultural values. Judeo – Christian system has a concept of sharing value system common to both the religion. The Jew considers Christians as adopters of some of the values from their faith. The concept of merging belief system could also serve humanitarian values as it increases the tolerance for people belonging to different religion, creating acceptability among communities and bring peace. American system is Judeo – Christian with the history that founders of the nation were more of the believers of being heirs to the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible and the belief in liberty.
This sense of mission is why more Americans have died for the liberty of others than any other nation’s soldiers. It is why those who today most identify with the Judeo-Christian essence of America are more likely to believe in the moral worthiness of dying to liberate countries – not only Europe, but Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. That is why America stands alone in protecting two little countries threatened with extinction, Israel and Taiwan. (Prager, 2004, p.5764)
The concept is extending to introduce Judeo – Christian- Muslim. Even Islamic teachings concentrates on spreading peace on earth rather then promoting terrorism which is the exploitation of the essence of the religion by those who are the enemies of world peace and stability.
The Poor Laws in England identified poor as belonging to three groups, those who can’t work at all, those who can’t find work and those who were not willing to work. A poor relief fund was created and workhouses for able-poor while the idle ones were punished.
Elizabeth Poor law of 1601 formularized the relief process by creating a collectivist national system made by imposing taxes and provided services to poor. The deserving poor were provided with food, money and even clothing. Those who needed work were placed at workhouses and were even given places to live while those that were not willing to work were sent to houses of correction. A parish was responsible for identifying and providing sustenance to its poor. The alms provided outside the workhouse were called outdoor relief. Some economists consider American Poor Law comparable to English poor Law reform of 1834. According to a critic Stephen Pimpare Visiting Assistant Professor Department of Political Science Hunter College CUNY:
During these periods of profound economic transformation, they used similar arguments to make ending or restricting relief an act of compassion, not cruelty, thus giving political viability and moral legitimacy to their self-serving cause. Such propaganda was disseminated through similar kinds of well-funded and well-connected organizations of “experts,” which functioned as mediating institutions, linking their funders, the media, and the political system; those funders remained behind the scenes during these battles, achieving their goals by dressing their economic campaigns in moral rhetoric. (Pimpare, 2003)
Protestant ethics is being considered as an evolutionary force behind capitalism. Unlike other religion it encouraged the followers to pursue economic growth. Under this view Economic gain was focused, activities for the pursuit of worldly benefits was encouraged and given positive meaning. Some critics condemn such behavior of protestant preachers as being aimed at saving their position by establishing opportunities like material growth appreciable in religion.
Laissez-Faire introduces an economic concept which rejects the intervention by the government in the form of taxes and other charges that are above then the one required to carry the specified services like individual rights, peace and security government is supposed to provide. It stresses the need of individual rights, personal freedom and free market. State’s unnecessary regulation and protection skims the profits and leave business world dissatisfied.
Pimpare, S. (2003, Aug) “The Poor Law Strikes Home?” Paper presented at the
annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, PA Online <.PDF> Retrieved 2008-02-24 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p62621_index.html
Prager, D. (2004) “What does Judeo-Christian mean?”. Jewish World View
8 Nissan, 5764, Retrieved 2008-03-04 from
Spiker, P. (1995) “Social Policy and Administration”. Social policy: themes and
Approaches, Retrieved 2008-03-04 from