State provision of social security : some theoretical, comparative and historical perspectives with reference to South Africa

Kruger, Johannes Jacob (1992-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 1992.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Societies are imaginative when setting up non-marl\et responses to deal v1ith insecurity and deprivation. The result is that there are many different services (such as income support, personal welfare services, education, health care and housing) catering for the very general objective of providing security. In addition, a variety of institutions can, and do, provide these services. While the traditional theory of public goods and e::...1ernalities does not provide clear justification for increased state provision of these services (in contrast to market, family, community and employer provision), increased state provision and coordination do seem to be a clear trend both from historical and comparative perspectives. Furthermore, this increased role of the state can be interpreted as representing a reassignment of the traditional roles of other institutions (noted above) to the state. The above trend can be rationalized on economic grounds as being the result of the changing nature of societies which affects the viability of different institutions In the provision of social services. Economic devt~lopment affects the cost of production of social services by different institutions differently. Taking a more in depth view of the costs of production, there are grounds to believe that the comparative advantage of the state in the provision of these_ services grows- a-s economic development takes place. "Nationalization" of the provision of services providing social security as economic development takes place can thus be seen as a stylized fact of economic development, and as representing an adjustment which can be efficiency enhancing. lt is from this perspective that the issue of the affordabiiity of increased social provision in developing countries should be approached. The South African experience provides further evidence of the increasing pressures, over time, for greater state provision of social security. The experience also, how . .:wer, furnishes examples of how in a specific situation these forces can be obstructed by speciric political institutions and how social policy can fail to adjust to changing circumstances. This resulted in the current unequal access to social services, the inequality of benefit levels and the incomplete coverage of risks faced by people in the South African economy. In spite of the incompleteness of the South African social safety net and the inequality which it reflects, fiscal and macroeconomic constraints seem to limit the possibilities for eAtending the safety net and for making it more just These constraints imply, and have resultoo in, the lowering of benefits to the previously privileged _;-( and an adjustment in the nature of benefits, leading to a focus on lower cost services which offer high rates of return. Current demands and envisaged changes in the spht?re of social policy, especially those surrounding a national pension system with universal coverage and G:·.tensive speci31 employm.3nt programmes, however, indicate the strength of the forces making for increase:d "nationali:ation" of income support and other social services. How the perceived fiscal constraints can be reconciled with the alleged rationality of a growing role for the South African state in social provision remains a question. The very general response of this study needs to be evaluated by looking in more d.:.tail at specific programmes and specific aspects of insecurity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Samelewings is verbeeldingryk met die daarstelling van nie-markgeorienteerde installings om armoede en 'n gebrek aan bestaanssekerheid die hoof te bied. Daarom is daar 'n verskeidenheid dienste (soos inkomsteversekering, persoonlih:e welsynsdienste, gesondheid, onderwys en behuising) om die baie algemene behoefte aan bestaanssekerheid aan te spreek. Daar is dan ook 'n hele verskeidenheid instellings wat hierdie dienste voorsien, en kan voorsien. Alhoewel die tradisionele teorie van publieke goedere en ekstemaliteite nie voldoende regverdiging vir groeiende staatsvoorsiening van hierdia dlenste (in teenstelllng met verskafflng deur markte, families, gemeenskappe en werkgewers) daarstel nie, blyk dit dat toenemende staatsvoorslening uit 'n historiese sowel as vergelykende perspektief 'n duid&like tendens verteenwoordlg. Verder kan die groeiende rol van die staat in hierdle steer oak gesit:m word .:ts die gevolg van die hertoewysing van tradisionele rolle van ander instellings (soos hierbo genoem) aan die staat. Hierdie tend ens kan op ekonomiese gronde gerasionaliseer word as die gevolg van die veranderende aard van samelewlngs wat die ekonomiese lewensvatbaarheid van instellings in die voorsiening van sosiale dienste beinvloed. Ekonomiese ontwikkeling affekteer verskillende instellings, en daarom die produksiekoste van sosiale dienste deur die instellings voorsien, op uiteenlopende maniere. lndien 'n bree konsep van produksiekoste gebruik word is dit moontlik am te argumenteer dat die ataat se vergelykende voordeel in die voorsiening van hierdie dienste toeneem soos 'n land ekonomies ontwikkel. "Nasionalisering" van die dienste wat sosiale sekuriteit daarstel kan dan gesien word as een van die basiese neigings wat met ekonomiese ontwikkeling geassosieer kan word. sowel as 'n aanpassing wat ekonomiese doeltreffendheid verbeter. Hierdle perspektief Is die gewensde een wanneer die kwessie van die bekostigbaarheid van toenemende sosiale voorsiening in ontwikkelende lande aangespreek word. Die Suid-Afrih:aanse ondervlnding in hierdie verband verskaf verdere getuienis van toenemende kragte, oar tyd, wat groeiende staatsvoorsiening van sosiale sekuriteit (sekerheid) In die hand werk. Die ondervinding voorsien egter oak voorbeelde van hoe hierdie kragte deur spesifleke politieke instellings omvorm kan word en hoe sosiale beleid 1\an agterbly by veranderende omstandighode. Hierdie faktore het aanleiding gegee tot die huidige ongelyke toegang tot sosiale dienste, ongelyke voordele en onvoldoende dekking teen die rlsiko's wat die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie inhou. Ten spyte van die tekortkominge van die Suid-Afrik3.anse stelsel van bestaansbeveiliging en die ongelyh:heid daarin gereflehteer, kom dit voor asof fiskale en makro-ekonomiese beperkinge die moontlikhede am die stelsel te omvorm streng beperk: Hierdie beperkinge impliseer, en het aanleiding gegee tot, 'n verlaging van die voordele van die bevoorregte groepe en 'n aanpassing van die aard van voordele, veral in die rigting van goedkoper dienste met steeds hoe opbrengskoerse. Huidige eise en voorsit3ne veranderinge in die sfeer van sosiale beleid. veral ten opsigte van 'n univo3rsele sto::l3o:.l van 3osiale pensioene en spesiale werkskeppingsprogramme, dui egter op die sterkte van die kragte wat to8n8m-:mde "nasionalisering" van sosiale dienste in die hand werk. Hoe die klaarblyklike fish:ale bepalings ta versoen is met die beweerde rasionaliteit van 'n grater rol vir die Suid-Afrikaanse staat in sosiale voorsiening bly 'n vraag. Dit is nodig am die bree perspektief van hierdie studie te evalueer deur in meer detail te kyh: na spesifiek programme en spesifleke oorsah:e van 'n gebrek aan bestaanssekerheid.

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