This text aims to review the issues raised by the state provision of social benefits in cash and in kind and to examine the principles on which their provision may be deemed to rest. The contributors examine the purpose of this area of public activity of 60% of public expenditure in Britain. What are these elaborate social services meant to achieve? By what criteria are they to be judged? By what authority have the objectives been adopted and the criteria applied? The answers to questions such as these will obviously reflect both differences in basic value judgements and differences in appraising the facts of any social situation. The editors compile many viewpoints on the topic. The text discusses the principles of social policy from both libertarian and social democratic points of view and assesses the facts and values in determining a social minimum. It also looks at pensions policy and social objectives, freedom, paternalism and economic constraints. It examines the procedures for policy-making in Britain, the scope for change and social policies in other members of the EC - Germany, France and Spain.
In addition, it evaluates the Russian welfare state and the possible effects of perestroika and it analyzes the difficultites of Sweden's model welfare state.