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Society's Restraint to Social Reform

Uploaded by Admin on Jun 12, 2000

Of the many chatted words in the social reform vocabulary of Canadians today, the term workfare seems to stimulate much debate and emotion. Along with the notions of self-sufficiency, employability enhancement, and work disincentives, it is the concept of workfare that causes the most tension between it's government and business supporters and it's anti-poverty and social justice critics. In actuality, workfare is a contraction of the concept of "working for welfare" which basically refers to the requirement that recipients perform unpaid work as a condition of receiving social assistance.

Recent debates on the subject of welfare are far from unique. They are all simply contemporary attempts to decide if we live in a just society or not. This debate has been a major concern throughout history. Similarly, the provision of financial assistance to the able-bodied working-age poor has always been controversial.

On one side are those who articulate the feelings and views of the poor, namely, the Permissive Position, who see them as victims of our society and deserving of community support. The problems of the poor range from personal (abandonment or death of the family income earner) to the social (racial prejudice in the job market) and economic (collapse in the market demand for their often limited skills due to an economic recession or shift in technology). The Permissive View reveals that all participants in society are deserving of the unconditional legal right to social security without any relation to the individual's behaviour. It is believed that any society which can afford to supply the basic needs of life to every individual of that society but does not, can be accused of imposing life-long deprivation or death to those needy individuals. The reason for the needy individual being in that situation, whether they are willing to work, or their actions while receiving support have almost no weight in their ability to acquire this welfare support. This view is presently not withheld in society, for if it was, the stereotype of the 'Typical Welfare Recipient' would be unheard of.

On the other side, the Individualists believe that generous aid to the poor is a poisoned chalice that encourages the poor to pursue a life of poverty opposing their own long-term interests as well of those of society in general. Here, high values are placed on personal choice. Each participant in society is a responsible individual who is able to make his...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   06/12/2000

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   8 pages (1,783 words)

Views:   1578

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