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Stability in a Changing World: The Social Policy Regimes of Germany, Sweden and South Africa
 

Stability in a Changing World: The Social Policy Regimes of Germany, Sweden and South Africa

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A comparative analysis of three social policy regimes and their responsiveness to demographic and political change between 1990 and 2010.

A comparative analysis of three social policy regimes and their responsiveness to demographic and political change between 1990 and 2010.

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    Stability in a Changing World: The Social Policy Regimes of Germany, Sweden and South Africa Stability in a Changing World: The Social Policy Regimes of Germany, Sweden and South Africa Document Transcript

    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  Stability  in  a  Changing  World:  The  Social  Policy  Regimes  of  Germany,  Sweden  and  South  Africa       The  use  of  typologies  as  theoretical  frameworks  in  comparative  social  policy  research  has  become  widespread.1    Two  such  theoretical  frameworks,  that  of  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen  and  Ian  Gough  and  Geoff  Wood  will  be  used  here  to  describe,  compare  and  contrast  three  social  policy  regimes;  Germany,  Sweden  and  South  Africa.    Differences  and  similarities  between  those  regimes  will  be  located  in  their  responses  to  the  various  pressures  for  change  that  most  if  not  all  social  policy  regimes  have  faced,  to  varying  degrees,  within  the  last  twenty  years.    Frameworks  of  Analysis     Esping-­‐Andersen,  building  on  the  work  of  Richard  Titmuss,2  developed  a  framework  for  the  purpose  of  comparing  welfare  state  regimes.    Critical  of  studies  that  ranked  welfare  states  solely  on  expenditure  levels,  he  sought  to  explore  the  actual  structure  and  content  of  those  regimes.3    He  argued  that  in  order  to  understand  a  particular  country’s  social  policies  we  must  look  to  its  prevailing  social  and  institutional  structures,  themselves  a  result  of  diverse  historical  and  political  processes.4    The  most  crucial  process  he  identified  in  this  regard  was  the  ideological  competition  between  rival  versions  of  the  ‘Good  Society,’  which  could  be  measured  by  the  content  of  the  social  rights  granted  by  individual  Western  countries  during  the  twentieth-­‐century.5    Such  rights,  for                                                                                                                  1  Helen  Bolderson  and  Deborah  Mabbett,  ‘Theories  and  Methods  in  Comparative  Social  Policy,’  in  J.  Clasen  (ed.),  Comparative  Social  Policy:  Concepts,  Theories  and  Methods,  Oxford,  Blackwell,  1999,  pp.  44-­‐47.  2  Titmuss  distinguished  three  models  of  social  policy  regimes  –  the  institutional  redistributive  model,  the  industrial  achievement  model,  and  the  residual  welfare  model.    For  an  in  depth  discussion  of  these  models,  see  Michael  Hill,  Social  Policy  in  the  Modern  World,  Oxford,  Blackwell,  2006,  p.  27.  3  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  The  Three  Worlds  of  Welfare  Capitalism,  Cambridge,  Polity  Press,  1990,  p.  156.  4  ibid,  p.  4.  5  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  ‘Towards  the  Good  Society,  Once  Again?’  in  G.  Esping-­‐Andersen  (ed.),  Why  We  Need  a  New  Welfare  State,  Oxford,  Oxford  University  Press,  2002,  pp.  1-­‐2.   1    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  Esping-­‐Andersen,  bring  about  different  degrees  of  ‘de-­‐commodification,’  or  a  lessening  of  the  importance  of  the  market  in  the  provision  of  a  citizen’s  welfare,  while  at  the  same  time  perpetuating  class  divisions  through  ‘social  stratification’.6    Recognising  that  countries  exhibiting  similar  social,  ideological  and  institutional  development  paths  tend  to  have  comparable  measurements  for  these  indicators,  Esping-­‐Andersen  devised  typologies  under  which  different  welfare  state  regimes  could  be  ‘clustered’  and  subsequently  compared.7     Using  this  framework,  Esping-­‐Andersen  identified  three  Weberian  ideal  types.  Firstly,  the  Liberal  welfare  state,  rooted  in  the  rigid  belief  of  the  primacy  of  the  market,  is  predominately  based  around  modest  means-­‐tested  social  assistance,  with  the  state  essentially  providing  a  safety  net.    Secondly,  the  Conservative/Corporatist  welfare  state,  which  initially  granted  social  rights  on  the  basis  of  social  status  in  an  attempt  to  entrench  existing  differentials,  is  characterized  by  state-­‐led  development  of  social  policy  institutions  and  social  insurance  systems  tied  to  work  contribution  levels.    Lastly,  the  Social  Democratic  welfare  state,  heavily  rooted  in  the  principles  of  egalitarianism  and  universalism,  extended  social  rights  to  all  as  part  of  a  commitment  to  welfare  provision  irrespective  of  a  citizen’s  class  or  position  in  the  market.8    While  no  country  represents  a  pure  example  of  these  states,  countries  can  be  classified  into  regime  clusters  based  upon  the  extent  to  which  they  approach  one  of  these  ideal  types.9       Esping-­‐Andersen’s  framework  has  been  criticized  on  several  grounds,  one  of  which  is  important  to  the  current  study.    Gough  and  Wood,  while  acknowledging  the  usefulness  of  Esping-­‐Andersen’s  framework,  suggested  rightly  that  its  ‘Western  centric’  underpinnings  exclude  the  welfare                                                                                                                  6  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  ‘Three  Worlds  of  Welfare  Capitalism,’  in  F.G.  Castles  and  C.  Pierson  (eds.),  The  Welfare  State:  A  Reader,  Oxford,  Blackwell,  2000,  p.  157.  7  Michael  Hill,  Social  Policy,  p.  27.  8  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  The  Three  Worlds  of  Welfare  Capitalism,  pp.  26-­‐27.  9  Ian  Gough,  ‘Welfare  Regimes  in  Development  Contexts:  a  Global  and  Regional  Analysis,’  in  I.  Gough  and  Geoff  Wood  et  al  (eds.),  Insecurity  and  Welfare  Regimes  in  Asia,  Africa  and  Latin  America  :  Social  Policy  in  Development  Contexts,  Cambridge,  Cambridge  University  Press,  2004,  p.  22.   2    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  arrangements  of  the  Global  South.    In  order  to  facilitate  analysis  of  such  arrangements  within  Esping-­‐Andersen’s  framework,  they  argue  that  a  wider  conception  of  social  policy,  in  which  it  is  formulated  by  a  variety  of  actors  and  not  just  the  state,  is  required.    Owing  to  quite  dissimilar  historical  and  political  processes  from  those  in  the  West,  regimes  in  the  South  are  characterized  by  a  different  combination  of  state,  family  and  market  welfare  provision,  or  ‘welfare  mix.’10    Under  their  extended  framework,  Gough  and  Wood  identified  three  regime  clusters  on  a  global  scale;  the  welfare  state  regime  (including  Esping-­‐Andersen’s  three  ideal  types  with  some  additions),  informal  security  regimes,  and  insecurity  regimes.11    Three  Social  Policy  Regimes    (i)  Germany     Using  Esping-­‐Andersen’s  framework,  the  German  ‘social  state’12  can  be  classified  within  the  Conservative/Corporatist  regime  cluster  due  to  three  key  elements  of  Germany’s  social  policy  regime.    Firstly,  as  discussed,  a  common  element  of  Conservative/Corporatist  regimes  is  that  the  initial  granting  of  social  rights  by  the  state  was  intended  to  entrench  class  and  status  differentials,  and  that  this  conservative  infancy  informs  the  present  day  regime.13    In  Germany,  Chancellor  Otto  von  Bismarck  introduced  a  state-­‐led  social  insurance  scheme  in  the  1880s  in  order  to  negate  the  perceived  threat  to  the  traditional  order  from  socialism  on  the  one  hand,  and  laissez-­‐faire  economics  on  the  other.    Under  it,  those  employed  in  the  workforce  contribute  to  a  social  insurance  fund,  the                                                                                                                  10  ibid,  pp.  21-­‐26.  11  For  an  in  depth  discussion  of  the  characteristics  of  these  regimes  see  especially  ibid,  p.  34.    While  we  do  not  have  space  here  to  describe  these  regimes  in  detail,  it  is  sufficient  here  to  note  them;  insecurity  regimes  will  be  explored  in  greater  detail  in  relation  to  the  South  African  social  policy  regime  later  in  this  study.  12  Due  to  the  term  ‘welfare  state’  having  negative  connotations  in  Germany  until  the  1950s  it  is  more  commonly  referred  to  as  the  ‘social  state.’    Germans  feel  that  such  a  term  embodies  a  commitment  to  social  justice.    Jochen  Clasen  and  Richard  Freeman,  ‘The  German  Social  State:  an  Introduction’,  in  J.  Clasen  and  R.  Freeman  (ed.),  Social  Policy  in  Germany,  New  York,  Harvester  Wheatsheaf,  1994,  p.  10.  13  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  The  Three  Worlds  of  Welfare  Capitalism,  p.  27.   3    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  benefits  levels  of  which  are  determined  by  occupational  class.    While  expansion  and  moderate  reform  has  occurred  throughout  Germany’s  distinct  historical  periods  of  the  twentieth-­‐century,  to  which  we  shall  return  later,  the  conservative  institutional  structure  of  its  regime  has  essentially  remained  unchanged  to  the  present  day.14     A  second  key  element  of  the  German  ‘social  state,’  as  identified  by  Esping-­‐Andersen,  is  the  pervasiveness  of  Catholic  social  teachings.    The  Catholic  Church,  as  a  significant  provider  of  social  services,  has  historically  been  and  still  very  influential  in  the  formulation  of  social  policy,  especially  as  relates  to  social  care  and  family  social  reproduction.    Hence,  the  traditional  male  bread  winner/female  caregiver  model  forms  the  basis  of  transfers  and  service  provision.    The  state’s  role  in  provision  is  thus  fairly  limited,  largely  taking  the  form  of  welfare  transfers,  with  services  primarily  provided  either  by  the  family,  or  by  voluntary  organisations  such  as  the  Church.15     Thirdly,  the  corporatist  structure  of  economic,  political  and  social  organisation  in  Germany  forms  a  key  element  of  the  ‘social  state’.    Under  German  corporatism,  interaction  between  state  and  society  takes  place  in  part  through  inter-­‐mediatory  bodies  such  as  voluntary  welfare  organisations,  the  Catholic  Church,  and  trade  unions,  on  the  basis  of  negotiation  and  consensus.    These  bodies  are  afforded  privileged  and  institutional  access  to  policy  formulation.    For  example,  the  Red  Cross,  who  acts  as  a  service  provider  in  service  centres  and  hospitals,  is  also  a  political  actor  with  a  seat  on  the  administrative  board  of  Children  and  Youth  Services,  a  nominally  state  body.16    Underlying  German  corporatism  is  the  Christian  democratic  principle  of  ‘subsidiarity,’  whereby  the  role  of  the  state  in  the  social  realm  is  subsidiary  to  that  of  firstly  the  family,  and                                                                                                                  14  Lutz  Leisering,  ‘Germany:  Reform  from  Within,’  in  P.  Alcock  and  G.  Craig  (eds.),  International  Social  Policy:  Welfare  Regimes  in  the  Developed  World,  New  York,  Palgrave,  2001,  p.  161.  15  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  ‘Welfare  States  without  Work:  the  Impasse  of  Labour  Shedding  and  Familialism  in  Continental  European  Social  Policy,’  in  G.  Esping-­‐Andersen  (ed.),  Welfare  States  in  Transition:  National  Adaptations  in  Global  Economies,  London,  SAGE,  1996,  p.  67.  16  Lutz  Leisering,  ‘Germany,’  pp.  167-­‐169.   4    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  secondly  the  various  voluntary  organisations.    The  German  state  then,  rather  than  being  a  universal  provider,  acts  as  a  guarantor  and  regulator  of  certain  social  rights,  which  are  fulfilled  by  other  bodies.17    (ii)  Sweden     For  Esping-­‐Andersen,  the  Swedish  social  policy  regime  is  the  most  developed  example  of  a  Social  Democratic  welfare  state  in  that  it  successfully  maintains  a  balance  between  individual  independence  and  public  responsibility.18    A  speech  delivered  to  parliament  in  1928  by  the  future  Prime  Minister,  Per  Albin  Hansson,  neatly  outlines  the  understanding  of  social  rights  that  informed  the  development  of  the  Swedish  model,  and  is  worth  quoting  at  length;       The   basis   of   the   home   is   community   and   feeling   of   togetherness.     The   good   home   knows   no   privileged   or   disadvantaged   individual,   no   favourites   and   step-­‐ children…Applied  to  the  great  people’s  and  citizens’  home,  this  would  mean  the   breaking   down   of   all   social   and   economic   barriers,   which   now   divide   citizen   into   privileged   and   disadvantaged,   into   rulers   and   dependants,   into   rich   and   poor,  propertied  and  miserable,  plunderers  and  the  plundered.19    Thus,  as  Esping-­‐Andersen  framework  would  suggest,  the  historical  development  of  the  Swedish  social  policy  regime  is  characterized  by  its  underlying  commitment  to  universalism  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  reduction  of  its  citizens’  reliance  on  the  market  through  de-­‐commodification  on  the  other.20     As  a  result,  Sweden’s  social  policy  regime  displays  two  further  hallmarks  of  Social  Democratic  regimes.    Firstly,  basic  security  in  the  form  of  a  flat-­‐rate  pension  as  a  right  of  citizenship  is  combined  with  income  security  in  the  form  of                                                                                                                  17  Jochen  Clasen  and  Richard  Freeman,  ‘The  German  Social  State,’  p.  11.  18  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  ‘Towards  the  Good  Society,’  p.  4.  19  Per  Albin  Hansson  quoted  in  Tapio  Salonen,  ‘Sweden:  Between  Model  and  Reality,’.  in  P.  Alcock  and  G.  Craig  (eds.),  International  Social  Policy:  Welfare  Regimes  in  the  Developed  World,  New  York,  Palgrave,  2001,  p.  146.  20  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  The  Three  Worlds  of  Welfare  Capitalism,  p.  27.   5    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  an  earnings  related  supplementary  pension  with  a  relatively  high-­‐income  replacement  rate.21    Financed  by  considerable  economic  expansion  from  the  1950s  to  the  1970s,  the  uniting  of  basic  security  with  income  security  sought  to  bring  the  middle-­‐class  within  the  social  policy  regime.22    Secondly,  in  contrast  to  the  German  ‘social  state’,  Sweden’s  social  policy  regime  is  service  intensive  in  nature.    The  Swedish  state,  heavily  centralised  in  nature,  is  directly  involved  in  ensuring  the  equal  provision  of  social  services  for  all,  with  its  long-­‐term  goal  being  to  eradicate  the  conditions  that  had  historically  shaped  class-­‐related  inequality  in  Swedish  society.23     At  the  core  of  the  Swedish  social  policy  system  is  the  interaction  between  three  policy  areas  –  social  security,  labour  market  policy  and  the  public  service.    Through  citizenship-­‐based  social  security,  large-­‐scale  state  intervention  by  an  expansive  public  sector,24  and  active  labour  market  policies,  the  Swedish  social  policy  regime  pursues  the  seemingly  contradictory  goals  of  universalist  welfare  reform  alongside  a  guarantee  of  full  employment.25    For  Esping-­‐Andersen,  this  Swedish  model  is  the  most  developed  example  of  a  Social  Democratic  welfare  state  due  to  its  ability  to  do  just  this;  promote  market  productivity  while  maintaining  preventative  social  policies.26        (iii)    South  Africa     South  African  social  policy  development  throughout  the  twentieth-­‐century,  and  indeed  into  the  twenty-­‐first,  cannot  be  separated  from  the  political  economy  of  Apartheid.  Yet  the  foundations  of  this  system  of  racial  discrimination  had  been  put  in  place  prior  to  the  election  of  the  National  Party  government  in                                                                                                                  21  John  D.  Stephens,  ‘The  Scandinavian  Welfare  States:  Achievements,  Crisis,  and  Prospects,’  in  G.  Esping-­‐Andersen  (ed.),  Welfare  States  in  Transition:  National  Adaptations  in  Global  Economies,  London,  SAGE,  1996,  p.  34.  22  Tapio  Salonen,  ‘Sweden,’  p.  147.  23  John  D.  Stephens,  ‘The  Scandinavian  Welfare  States,’  p.  35.  24  No  other  Western  country  has  as  high  a  proportion  of  the  workforce  employed  in  the  public  sector  as  witnessed  in  Sweden.    Tapio  Salonen,  ‘Sweden,’  p.  148.  25  Tapio  Salonen,  ‘Sweden,’  pp.  143-­‐144.  26  Gøsta  Esping-­‐Andersen,  The  Three  Worlds  of  Welfare  Capitalism,  p.  76.   6    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  1948.    Over  the  first  half  of  the  century,  the  majority  of  the  population  (hereafter  non-­‐whites)27  were  stripped  of  all  rights  including  those  to  property,  free  labour  mobility,  and  choice  of  living  arrangements.    In  essence,  non-­‐whites  had  no  social  rights  in  the  Western  conception,  as  they  were  not  thought  of  as  citizens  in  any  real  sense  of  the  word.    Social  benefits,  as  they  were  gradually  implemented,  were  to  be  the  domain  of  whites  only.28    With  the  ascension  of  the  National  Party  this  discrimination  simply  became  more  overt.    Non-­‐whites  were  prevented  from  joining  trade  unions,  from  entering  many  professions,  and  with  the  creation  of  the  Bantustans  (supposedly  traditional  native  areas)  were  expected  to  reside  far  from  social  services  and  employment  opportunities  in  barren  rural  areas  where  they  may  have  never  even  set  foot  before.    Hence,  inequality  for  the  majority  of  South  Africans  was  built  in  into  the  fundamental  structure  of  society.29     Following  the  end  of  the  Apartheid  era  in  1994,  the  imperative  of  the  new  ANC  (African  National  Congress)  government  was  to  rewrite  the  formally  adversarial  social  contract  betwThe  een  state  and  society.    Initially,  under  the  Reconstruction  and  Development  Programme  (RDP),  this  entailed  a  compromise  between  binding  the  state  to  meeting  the  basic  needs  of  all  South  Africans,  and  the  maintenance  of  the  political  settlement.30    Hence,  while  measures  such  as  universal  pension  provision,  ambitious  housing  construction  programmes,  and  the  removal  of  formal  racially  based  restrictions  were  implemented,  the  ANC  stopped  short  of  instituting  large-­‐scale  redistribution  of  land  and  resources.    Under  external  pressure  from  the  International  Monetary  Fund  and  the  World  Bank  to  institute  structural  adjustment  policies,  however,  the  RDP  gave  way  in                                                                                                                  27  Non-­‐whites  here  refers  to  the  majority  of  the  population,  which  includes  Africans,  ‘Coloureds’  and  Indians,  who  were  also  grouped  under  the  term  ‘blacks’  at  the  time.    Francie  Lund,  ‘South  Africa:  Transition  Under  Pressure,’  in  P.  Alcock  and  G.  Craig  (eds.),  International  Social  Policy:  Welfare  Regimes  in  the  Developed  World,  New  York,  Palgrave,  2001,  p.  222.  28  ibid,  pp.  221-­‐222.  29  Beth  Goldblatt,  ‘Citizenship  and  the  Right  to  Child  Care,’  in  A.  Gouws  (ed.),  (Un)thinking  Citizenship:  Feminist  Debates  in  Contemporary  South  Africa,  Aldershot,  Ashgate  Publishing,  2005,  pp.  11-­‐16.      30  Krista  Johnson,  ‘State  and  Civil  Society  in  Contemporary  South  Africa:  Redefining  the  Rules  of  the  Game,’  in  R.  Calland  and  S.  Jacobs  (eds.),  Thabo  Mbeki’s  World:  The  Politics  and  Ideology  of  the  South  African  President,  Scottsville,  University  of  Natal  Press,  2002,  pp.  222-­‐226.   7    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  1996  to  budgetary  restrictions  and  the  neo-­‐liberal  market  orientated  Growth,  Employment  and  Redistribution  plan  (GEAR).31    The  emphasis  had  shifted  from  the  rewriting  of  the  social  contract,  to  the  building  of  new  social  partnerships  with  state’s  role  in  socio-­‐economic  transformation  gradually  transferred  to  domestic  and  foreign  private  enterprises  and  voluntary  organisations.32     South  Africa  displays  all  the  hallmarks  of  Gough  and  Wood’s  insecurity  regimes.    The  legacy  of  colonialism  has  left  South  Africa  without  a  developed  economy,  and  a  society  with  inbuilt  and  pervasive  inequalities.    The  lack  of  social  development,  high  unemployment,33  and  a  burgeoning  informal  sector,  has  left  the  household  as  the  main  provider  of  social  care  and  risk  mitigation,  while  poverty  and  poor  health  outcomes  (notably  the  HIV/AIDS  epidemic)  are  rising.34    The  ability  of  the  state  to  arrest  the  influence  of  historical  forces  in  contemporary  South  Africa  is  severely  limited.      Changing  Environments     Using  the  theoretical  frameworks  discussed  above,  the  social  policy  regimes  of  Germany,  Sweden  and  South  Africa  can  be  compared  and  contrasted  on  several  grounds.    Difference  can  clearly  be  located  in  ideological  underpinnings,  institutional  structure  and  historical  development,  as  well  specific  social  policies,  welfare  outcomes  and  degrees  of  de-­‐commodification  and                                                                                                                  31  Elizabeth  Francis,  ‘Poverty:  Causes,  Responses  and  Consequences  in  Rural  South  Africa,’  in  B.  Harriss-­‐White  and  J.  Heyer  (eds.),  The  Comparative  Political  Economy  of  Development:  Africa  and  South  Asia,  New  York,  Routledge,  2010,  pp.  91-­‐92.  32  Krista  Johnson,  ‘State  and  Civil  Society,’  p.  227.  33  Using  a  ‘broad  definition,’  Berstein  claims  that  South  Africa’s  unemployment  rate  is  approaching  40  percent.    Henry  Berstein,  ‘Globalisation,  Neoliberalism,  Labour,  with  Reference  to  South  Africa’  in  A.  Saad-­‐Filho  and  G.L.  Yalman  (eds.),  Economic  Transitions  to  Neoliberalism  in  Middle-­‐income  Countries:  Policy  dilemmas,  Economic  Crises,  Forms  of  Resistance,  New  York,  Routledge,  2010,  p.  183.  34  Jeremy  Seekings,  ‘Welfare  Regimes  and  Redistribution  in  the  South’  in  D.  Donno,  I.  Shapiro  and  P.A.  Swenson  (eds.),  Divide  and  Deal:  The  Politics  of  Distribution  in  Democracies,  New  York,  New  York  University  Press,  2008,  pp.  24-­‐27.   8    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  stratification.35    On  the  other  hand,  similarities  are  manifest  in  each  country’s  basic  desire  to  provide  some  level  of  security  for  their  citizens  through  the  medium  of  redistribution.36    Due  to  space  constraints,  however,  and  given  that  both  frameworks  emphasize  the  importance  of  historical  processes,  it  would  seem  reasonable  to  locate  difference  in  each  regime’s  responsiveness  to  the  pressures  for  change  felt  by  social  policy  regimes  worldwide  since  the  late  twentieth-­‐century.     The  structure  of  the  German  ‘social  state’  has  come  under  significant  pressure  in  recent  decades  and  since  the  mid  1990s  in  particular.    Economic  pressures  linked  to  globalisation,  including  higher  unemployment  associated  with  trade  liberalisation  and  increasing  immigration,  along  with  an  ageing  population,  sluggish  growth,  and  the  propping  up  of  the  East  after  reunification,  have  led  many  to  talk  of  crisis  and  a  dismantling  of  the  regime  in  its  current  form.    Certainly  a  system  based  upon  work  contributions  is  particularly  vulnerable  to  economic  shocks.37     Yet  the  fundamental  institutional  structure  of  the  German  ‘social  state’  has  remained  fundamentally  unchanged.    It  should  not  be  forgotten  that  this  structure  has  survived  distinct  historical  periods  including  National  Socialism  and  the  separation  and  subsequent  reunification  of  East  and  West,  each  marked  by  sometimes-­‐conflicting  ideas  regarding  the  relationship  between  state  and  society.38    Indeed,  if  anything,  the  ‘social  state’  has  expanded  and  become  more  egalitarian,  the  closing  of  the  gap  between  white  and  blue-­‐collar  occupational  insurance  funds  being  but  one  example.39    This  is  due  in  part  to  a  rigid  political  system,  with  multiple  actors,  drawn  from  both  state  and  non-­‐state  bodies,  having  significant  influence  on  social  policy,  making  consensus  building  for  fundamental                                                                                                                  35  Michael  Hill,  Social  Policy,  p.  27.  36  Patricia  Kennett,  ‘Introduction:  The  Changing  Context  of  Comparative  Social  Policy,’  in  P.  Kennett  (ed.),  A  Hanbook  of  Comparative  Social  Policy,  Northampton,  Edward  Elgar,  2004,  p.  4.  37  Lutz  Leisering,  ‘Germany,’  p.  176.  38  ibid,  pp.  162-­‐164.  39  ibid,  pp.  172-­‐173.   9    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  structural  change  politically  difficult.40    This  inflexibility  has  meant  that  what  change  has  occurred  to  Germany’s  highly  legitimated  system,  has  necessarily  taken  place  within  historically  established  structures.41     Sweden’s  social  policy  regime  has  also  experienced  crisis,  and  pressures  upon  its  structure,  resulting  from  economic  stagnation  in  the  late  twentieth-­‐century.    Owing  to  globalizing  forces  and  an  opening  up  of  the  economy  during  the  1980s,  Sweden  was  left  vulnerable  to  external  shocks,  and  during  the  recession  of  the  early  1990s  the  country  experienced  negative  growth  rates  and  soaring  unemployment.42    Combined  with  an  ageing  population,  falling  birth  rates  and  changes  in  family  structures,  this  proved  disastrous  for  a  social  policy  regime  dependent  upon  a  high  ratio  of  working  to  non-­‐working  citizens,  much  as  it  had  in  Germany.43    Forced  into  cutbacks  in  social  transfers  and  services,  as  well  as  reductions  in  public  sector  employment,  this  seemed  to  point  to  drastic  changes  to  the  Swedish  social  policy  regime.44     Despite  a  sharp  decline  in  the  welfare  state  in  Sweden  during  the  1990s,  however,  the  fundamental  character  of  the  Swedish  social  policy  regime  has  remained  intact.    Certainly  the  unemployment  shock  led  to  a  rollback  of  benefits  and  a  move  towards  the  introduction  of  social  insurance  and  means-­‐tested  residual  pensions.45    Yet  cuts  to  most  universal  services  and  benefits  were  generally  reversed  within  a  short  timeframe.46    Thus,  notwithstanding  a                                                                                                                  40  Jochen  Clasen  and  Richard  Freeman,  ‘The  German  Social  State,’  p.  12.  41  Lutz  Leisering,  ‘Germany,’  p.  178.  42  Sweden  experience  negative  growth  rates  between  1991  and  1993.    Virpi  Timonen,  Restructuring  the  Welfare  State:    Globalization  and  Social  Policy  Reform  in  Finland  and  Sweden,  Northampton,  Edward  Elgar,  2003,  p.  5.    Negative  growth  lead  to  heavy  private  sector  cuts  during  these  years,  with  unemployment  rising  from  1.5  percent  to  10  percent.    Cuts  would  be  extended  to  the  public  sector  in  the  years  following  the  recession.    Tapio  Salonen,  ‘Sweden,’  p.  148.  43  Virpi  Timonen,  Restructuring  the  Welfare  State,  pp.  5-­‐6.  44  Tapio  Salonen,  ‘Sweden,’  p.  149.  45  ibid,  pp.  154-­‐155  46  Virpi  Timonen,  Restructuring  the  Welfare  State,  p.  15.   10    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  restructuring  of  the  state’s  social  policy  regime,  and  a  partial  reduction  in  its  de-­‐commodifying  nature,  the  essential  universalist  character  remains.47     In  South  Africa,  efforts  to  alleviate  the  legacy  of  Apartheid  have  proved  largely  unsuccessful;  inequality  remains  part  of  the  fundamental  structure  of  South  African  society  and  is  in  fact  deepening.    Those  in  former  Bantustan  areas  and  the  urban  poor  still  have  grossly  inadequate  access  to  the  universal  services  that  have  been  implemented  by  the  ANC  government,  while  the  non-­‐poor  has  disproportionate  access.48    Thus,  while  South  Africa’s  social  policy  regime  is  now  far  more  extensive  in  nature,  and  nominally  universal,  the  realities  of  South  African  social  development  have  proved  difficult  to  overcome  in  a  relatively  short  period  of  time.49     It  is  apparent  that  the  expectation  that  fundamental  changes  in  the  relationship  between  state  and  society  would  rapidly  improve  social  policy  outcomes  proved  misguided.    This  was  due  on  the  one  hand  to  an  underestimation  of  the  time  it  takes  to  formulate  good  policy,  and  of  the  pervasiveness  of  structures  of  inequality  on  the  other.50    Though  the  historical  and  political  processes  in  play  in  South  Africa  are  no  doubt  vastly  different  to  those  in  Sweden  and  Germany,  much  as  in  those  countries,  the  power  of  these  processes  to  block  fundamental  change  is  considerable.     Thus  we  arrive  at  an  interesting  result.    The  quite  divergent  social  policy  regimes  of  Germany,  Sweden  and  South  Africa,  all  exhibit  a  similar  resistance  to  change  in  the  face  of  crisis.    Whether  due  to  political  inflexibility  in  the  case  of  Germany,  ideological  commitment  in  the  case  of  Sweden,  or  pervasive  social  structures  in  the  case  of  South  Africa,  the  historical  and  political  processes  identified  as  crucial  indicators  of  difference  by  the  frameworks  used  in  this  study  seem  to  perpetuate  the  characteristics  and  structures  that  they  themselves                                                                                                                  47  ibid,  p.  186.  48  Anthony  Butler,  Contemporary  South  Africa,  Hampshire,  Palgrave  Macmillan,  2004,  pp.  66-­‐67.  49  Francie  Lund,  ‘South  Africa,’  p.  230.  50  ibid,  pp.  236-­‐237   11    
    •          Sebastian  Hancock  (134922)  generate.    Hence,  the  usefulness  of  Esping-­‐Andersen’s  framework,  albeit  extended  to  account  for  the  Global  South,  in  characterising  and  comparing  social  policy  regimes  would  seem  to  hold  in  the  face  of  rapidly  changing  environments.    Conclusions     Using  Esping-­‐Andersen’s  theoretical  framework,  in  conjunction  with  that  of  Gough  and  Wood,  the  social  policy  regimes  of  Germany,  Sweden  and  South  Africa  have  been  classified  within  divergent  sets  of  regime  clusters.    Within  those  same  frameworks  I  have  identified  pressures  for  change  that  each  has  had  to  address  within  the  last  twenty  years.    The  responses  to  those  pressures,  while  diverse,  all  indicate  an  entrenchment  of  the  characteristics  and  structures  examined  during  this  study.    Such  a  result  is  consistent  with  the  extended  theoretical  framework  used  due  to  the  explanatory  power  afforded  historical  processes  by  that  framework  in  the  development  of  social  policy  regimes.                                 12    
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