Social Division of Welfare

Social Division of Welfare

Contents
1. Introduction
2. Social inequality
3. Policies for equality
4. Redistribution and division of wealth
5. Conclusion
6. Bibliography

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
- George Orwell “Animal Farm”


Introduction
Historically, human society was characterized by a substantial inequality. This inequality could be easily traced throughout different epochs and in different cultures and civilizations. Remarkably, the existing inequalities in innate abilities of humans were not even so significant than the social inequality and unequal redistribution of wealth though the realization of such inequality and social injustice was the achievement of a relatively recent times, while the problems mentioned above had existed since the formation of first human societies and beginning of human economic activities leading to the production of surplus products.
Naturally, the problem of unequal redistribution of social wealth could not fail to attract numerous specialists who attempted to solve it in possibly more effective way, though till the present moment there is no universal receipt to overcome the social inequality and provide a just social division of welfare. In this respect, it is worthy of mention R. Titmus who analyzed the problem of social division of welfare and attempted to find out plausible solution of this dilemma.
Social inequality
On discussing the problem of social division of welfare, it is primarily necessary to dwell upon social inequality as one of the key concepts of practically all works dedicated to this problem, including that of Titmuss. First of all, it should be said that the term ‘social inequality’ should be viewed at larger scale since often it is believed that inequality is just a difference between people that leads to the difference in their social position. In actuality, the term ‘social inequality’ implies not just the difference in economic position of people, their educational, cultural, physical or intellectual level, but, instead, this term rather implies that some people are in a disadvantageous position compared to others.
Even though formally all people have equal rights and opportunities, often people representing different social classes have really different opportunities to fully exercise their rights and enjoy benefits of the modern social wealth. This is why social inequality means disadvantage in social context when some people are deprived of certain opportunities to benefit from national wealth they contribute to.
Traditionally, the main inequalities in society are class, gender, race, and inequalities in income and wealth though the latter inequalities are probably the backbone of all others since it is because of economic inequality there exist opportunities for exploitation of one class by another, or discrimination of some categories of people by others.
At the same time, it is worthy of mention that inequalities are usually represented in one of three patterns (Spicker 2006). The first pattern is the hierarchical inequality which implies that inequalities stretch from the top to the bottom, with everyone ranked in a relative position. This is the main pattern of inequality in income and wealth. The second pattern is the stratification that means that people are ranked in groups, set at different levels. This model basically refers to inequalities in class and gender. Finally, the third pattern is social division in which societies can be seen as almost divided between groups – ‘black’ and ‘white’, men and women, rich and poor. A society which was genuinely divided would not be a society any more, but the image of the division is a powerful one to the extent that different groups may be viewed as different societies, for instance, in the 19ht century some specialists viewed rich and poor as two different nations.
Policies for equality
Naturally, the existing inequalities stimulates the development of concepts and theories that would help create efficient policy for their elimination and establishment of societies where all members are equal and, in this respect, the equal, or just, redistribution of wealth is of a paramount importance.
It should be pointed out that inequalities people are concerned with, as Rae (1981) suggests, can concern individuals, when the comparison is made, for instance, between rich and poor people, block in society, such as women, racial minorities, old people or regions, and segments, for instance, a distinction confined to children or women.
Obviously, the efficient policy for equality should eliminate existing inequalities possibly minimizing their negative effects. At the same time, it is necessary to underline that the policy for equality is still not clearly developed and the works of many specialists, such as Titmuss, Tawney, Legrand and others, should be used carefully since often a policy which corrects one inequality can aggravate another. For instance, there is a current argument in India that attempts to avoid gender discrimination will discriminate between castes.
Nonetheless, it does not mean that that the policy for equality is totally ineffective but it is simply necessary to remember that such a policy should meet its main goals. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that the main goals of policy for equality can be categorized in three groups. The first goal is equality of treatment that implies treatment without bias, prejudice, or special conditions applying to people, though it does not mean treating everyone the same, but rather objective treatment in accordance with individual needs. The second set of goals is equal opportunity. Practically, it means that this can be the opportunity to compete or, to put it more precisely, to compete on the same footing as others. Finally, there is equality of outcome. It means that there are policies which are concerned with inequalities of income or health status are generally concerned with removing disadvantage in outcome (Spicker 2006).
Redistribution and division of wealth
One of the major conditions of the elimination of the existing social inequalities is the efficient redistribution and just division of wealth. It should be said that redistribution implies that the undertaken measures are actually redistributive if people receive goods or services from these measures are not the same as the people who pay. All welfare provision is, by definition, redistributive in some way or another (Spicker 2006).
At the same time, redistribution does not necessarily have to be from rich to poor. Nowadays redistribution is conventionally classified as vertical or horizontal (Spicker 2006). Vertical redistribution may be progressive, i.e. from rich to poor, or regressive, i.e. from poor to rich. Horizontal redistribution goes from one kind of group to another – from men to women, households without children to families with children, tenants to owner-occupiers.
It is also worthy of mention that in the recent time, the egalitarian redistribution is getting to be more and more popular. This redistribution is progressive, but there are many ways to achieve equality with different effects. For instance, Rae (1981) outline four strategies: 1) maximin, or raising the minimum; 2) minimax, or leveling down the best off; 3) least difference, reducing the range of inequality at each end; and 4) ratio, compressing the range so that everyone is pushed nearer to others.
At the same time, Titmuss identified several different kinds of redistributive process, arguing that it was not possible to fully understand the redistributive impact of social policy without taking them fully into account. Referring to his ‘social division of welfare’, he defined three main types of welfare: 1) social welfare, including the social services; 2) fiscal welfare, i.e. welfare distributed through the tax system; and 3) occupational welfare, i.e. welfare distributed by industry as part of employment (Titmuss 1955).
However, nowadays this classification is considered to be fairly crude. To put it more precisely, the category of fiscal welfare bundles together subsidies, incentives and transfer payments, including income maintenance. Occupational welfare includes perks, salary-related benefits, measures intended to improve the efficiency of the workforce and some philanthropic measures. On the other hand, the classification excludes the legal welfare, i.e. the redistribution through the courts, the voluntary sector and the informal sector (Spicker 2006).
Nonetheless, it is hardly possible to underestimate the contribution of Titmuss ideas in the development of the equality policy and new view on the social division of wealth. To put it more precisely, he managed to draw attention to different patterns of redistribution, to explain that different kinds of redistribution, for instance by tax or benefits, can have similar effects, and to broaden the scope of social policy as a subject.
Conclusion
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the development of policy for equality is nowadays still as important as it was in the past. At the same time, the mankind is probably closer to the solution of the problem of social inequality and unjust social division of welfare at the present moment that it has ever been before. In this respect, the contribution of specialists working on this problem, such as R. Titmuss, can be hardly underestimated. Even though the first attempts to analyze and find the solution of the problem of social division of welfare and redistribution of wealth were far from perfect, they draw the public attention to this burning problem of mankind and indicated the ways in which the existing social inequalities could be eliminated or, at least, minimized.

Bibliography:
1. Braveman, D. (2002). Children, Poverty and State Constitutions. New York: Random House.
2. Legrand, J. (1982). The strategy of equality. Chicago: Allen and Unwin.
3. Rae, D. (1981). Equalities. Harvard University Press.
4. Ross, T. (2001). The Rhetoric of Poverty. New York: New Publishers.
5. Spicker, P. (2006). Liberty, equality, fraternity. New York: Policy Press.
6. Titmuss, R. (1963). “The social division of welfare”, in Essays on the Welfare State. Chicago: Allen and Unwin.
7. Tawney, R. H. (1991). Equality. LA: Unwin Books.