Essay on Social Welfare and Social Security!
Social welfare is a very old concept. Its origin is in the spontaneous and neighbourly assistance extended to persons in distress. People used to help others in times of calamity and need—financial and physical. In this sense, it is as old a concept as the community life itself.Early social welfare philosophy was mainly dominated by religious and moralistic motives rather than the selfless desire to assist them materially. It was closely related with the religious ideas of philanthropy and alms giving.People used to carry welfare activities for the poor, downtrodden and infirm as charitable activities. And, this idea is still continuing. Charity gets over into the mores and it used to have powerful religious sanction. Most of these activities are performed individually or in the form of a trust.But, in recent decades, social welfare has taken an institutional character as has been defined by Kuid and Roller (1975): ‘social welfare is an institution which covers a wide range of functions such as charity, family planning, social security, community centres and unemployment compensation.’As a contemporary concept, ‘social welfare’ arose with the phenomenon of industrialism in the 19th century which brought in its train many social problems such as poverty, unemployment, squalor, prostitution, slums and many diseases. Before industrialization either these problems were non-existent or their amount was not so large that they could attract the attention of the people.Generally, such problems were used to be solved individually and through trial-and-error method as at that time modern scientific methods did not come into existence. After the development of science and technology, it was felt that the problems caused by industrialization may be solved with the use of scientific methods and thus the concept of social welfare came into existence.In sociology, the concept of ‘social welfare’ came through the ideas of Auguste Comte, the founder of sociology. He argued that sociology should contribute to the welfare of the humanity by using science to understand and control human behaviour. He said, ‘a true science of humanity must find out both the laws of order and progress’. Comte believed that sociology was the means by which a more just rational social order can be established and society can be reconstructed.In this connection, it will not be out of place to mention that the early sociologist W.G. Sumner and many others were against all state-directed welfare schemes. Sumner said, ‘Society needs first of all to be free from meddlers—that is to be alone.’ Similarly, Spencer (1886) advocated laissez-faire policy (no interference policy). He believed that an unfit has no right for support. They have to leave the planet.The term ‘social security” is used generally to refer to protective measures to assist people and households facing severe shortages in income and basic survival needs due to different work, health or family related risks such as unemployment, old age and illness.It is also an important instrument for the well-being of workers (of organized and unorganized sectors both) and their family members as well as too young and old people who are unable to earn their living to sustain their life for a variety of reasons.The protection and assistance traditionally afforded by kin and community to the young, elders and other disabled members of the family is now dwindling after industrialisation due to the breakdown of joint family. The Beveridge Plan may be said as the first planned effort, directed to integrate social welfare and security programmes.Its attack on five giants, namely, want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness, was the beginning of the modem social security programmes. A comprehensive social security programme, launched to provide a national minimum standard of living for every citizen, is thus understood as a distinguishing feature of a welfare state.A welfare state is responsible for providing the means whereby all its members can reach minimum standard of health, economic security and civilized living and can share according to their capacity in the social and cultural heritage. On the other hand, social welfare programmes seek to supplement the statutory social security programmes and meet the particular individual needs which do not fit into the common pattern. It was said that welfare without security or vice versa is not possible.Social welfare and social security are thus intimately linked up but they are pursuing different ends.