- Welfare (financial aid)
Welfare is financial assistance paid to people by governments. Some welfare is general, while specific and can only be invoked under certain circumstances, such as a
scholarship. Welfare payments can be made to individuals or to companies or entities--these latter payments are often considered corporate welfare.
Individuals may apply for welfare due to
disability, lack of educationor job training, a low demand for unskilled labor, or substance abuse. Assistance may also take the form of other relief, such as tax credits for working mothers.
Welfare is known by a variety of names in different countries, all with the avowed purpose of providing an economic or
social safety netfor disadvantaged members of society. Almost all developed nations provide some kind of safety net of this kind; nations where such programs are especially prominent are known as welfare states.
The desired outcome and purpose of welfare varies. For welfare for the non-disabled, the purpose often is to prevent complete destitution. Welfare or assistance for the disabled, in contrast, does not eventually expect non-dependency, and the justification is more philosophical.
Corporate welfare," usually in the form of favorable tax policy, is sometimes used in order to provide capitalto an industrythat the government perceives needs financial assistance in order to survive or to expand, or which the government wishes to support for political or economic purposes.
Some of these ideal outcomes and purposes, as well as welfare's effectiveness have been challenged by political lobbies such as those who oppose
big governmentand "forced charity", such as minarchists or libertarians.
The amounts paid to recipients are typically modest, and may fall below the
poverty line. Recipients must usually demonstrate a low level of income such as by way of "means testing", or financial hardship, or that they satisfy some other requirement such as childcareresponsibilities or disability.
Those receiving unemployment benefits may also have to regularly demonstrate that they are periodically searching for employment. Some countries assign specific jobs to recipients who must work in these roles in order for welfare payments to continue. In the
United Statesand Canada, such programs are known as workfare.
Corporate welfare is supposed welfare on a larger scale for entities and companies. The term is often pejorative.
The term was originally coined by
Ralph Naderin 1956. [Nader, Ralph, [http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Nader/CutCorpWelfare_Nader.html Cutting Corporate Welfare] , 2000] [ [http://www.nader.org/releases/63099.html Testimony of Ralph Nader before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives] ] The concept of "corporate welfare" creates a satirical association between corporate subsidiesand welfare payments to the poor, and implies that corporations are much less needy of such treatment than the poor; as such, the term is usually used by those who oppose such handouts to corporations.One of the questions on the World's Smallest Political Quizasks the reader whether or not he/she supports ending "corporate welfare"; this is one of the questions used to differentiate between different political ideologies ( centrist, liberal, conservative, statistand libertarian). [ [http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html World's Smallest Political Quiz] ]
History of welfare
Roman Empire, social welfare to help the poor was enlarged by the Caesar Nerva[http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/602150/Trajan#tab=active~checked%2Citems~checked&title=Trajan%20--%20Britannica%20Online%20Encyclopedia] . Nerva's program brought acclaim from many including Pliny the Younger. [http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/nerva_trajan.html]
The concepts of welfare and
pensionwere introduced in early Islamic lawFact|date=September 2008 of the Caliphateas forms of " Zakat" (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, since the time of the Abbasid caliph Al-Mansurin the 8th century. The taxes (including "Zakat" and " Jizya") collected in the treasuryof an Islamic governmentwas used to provide incomefor the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali(Algazel, 1058-1111), the government was also expected to store up food supplies in every region in case a disasteror famineoccurs. [citation|title=Medieval Islamic Political Thought|first=Patricia|last=Crone|publisher= Edinburgh University Press|year=2005|isbn=0748621946|pages=308-9]
There is relatively little statistical data on welfare
transfer payments until at least the High Middle Ages. In the medievalperiod and until the Industrial Revolution, the function of welfare payments in Europewas principally achieved through private giving or charity. In those early times there was a much broader group considered in povertycompared to the 21st century.
Early welfare programs included the English
Poor Lawof 1601, which gave parishes the responsibility for providing welfare payments to the poor [ [http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/boyer.poor.laws.england The Poor Laws of England] at EH.Net] . This system was substantially modified by the nineteenth-century Poor Law Amendment Act, which introduced the system of workhouses.
It was predominantly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that an organized system of state welfare provision was introduced in many countries.
Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, introduced one of the first welfare systems for the working classes. In Great Britainthe Liberal government of Henry Campbell-Bannermanand David Lloyd Georgeintroduced the National Insurancesystem in 1911 [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/britain/liberalreformsrev2.shtml Liberal Reforms] at BBCBitesize] , a system later expanded by Clement Attlee. The United Statesdid not have an organized welfare system until the Great Depression, when emergency relief measures were introduced under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even then, Roosevelt's New Dealfocused predominantly on a programme of providing work and stimulating the economy through public spendingon projects, rather than on cash payments.
In the late twentieth century, a perception grew that existing welfare systems were becoming excessively bureaucratic and inefficient. The United States Social Security system has come under particular criticism, and many political figures, such as
George W. Bush, have argued for a more work-based system of welfare provision.
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