Social policy and welfare provision refer to the policies used by governments to protect the welfare of their citizens. It goes further to include the development of the welfare of the society and the strategies applied in the provision of social services to the public (Walsh, Stephens & Moore, 2000). Societies all over the world are known to exist in a dynamic state where changes are inevitable. This creates a need for a transition from historical issues faced by previous societies to current issues that affect contemporary societies. As a key instrument for addressing social problems, social policy and welfare provision have largely differed in historical and contemporary contexts. This evolution has moved contemporary governments into shifting from previously limited capacities for provision of welfare services to sophisticated ways that are more beneficial to the public.
To begin with, historical social policies did not fully guarantee citizens decent living standards. This could be seen in the way the institutions concerned with social welfare were neglected especially in terms of funding. For instance, the government of the United States did not have a defined social security system prior to the great depression (Miron & Weil, 2007). Currently, there are numerous social welfare institutions that are well equipped and fully supported by the government. Welfare provision is also fully supported by governments thus creating a system that guarantees citizens better living standards (Veit‐Wilson, 2000).
Due to the limited scope of historical social policies, provision of social welfare was not marred with a lot of political interests as seen in the contemporary society. Governments and politicians gave social welfare issues little attention. There was less political interference in social welfare affairs historically than what is witnessed in the contemporary society (Theda, 1988). With more involvement from the government and politicians, the citizens in contemporary society are realizing more social welfare benefits than their predecessors.
To sum up, the shifts from historical social policy strategies have created an enabling environment for improving living standards. As more support is seen in contemporary social policies, it is evident that the changes have ultimately brought more gains in social welfare than what was experienced in the past centuries.
Miron, J. A., & Weil, D. N. (2007). 9. The Genesis and Evolution of Social Security (pp. 297-322). University of Chicago Press.
Theda, M. W. A. S. O. (1988). The politics of social policy in the United States (Vol. 2). Princeton University Press.
Veit‐Wilson, J. (2000). States of welfare: a conceptual challenge. Social Policy & Administration, 34(1), 1-25.
Walsh, M., Stephens, P., & Moore, S. (2000). Social policy and welfare. Nelson Thornes.
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