Commodification of Welfare

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  • Topic: Private sector, Voluntary sector, Public sector
  • Pages : 6 (2438 words )
  • Download(s) : 80
  • Published : August 17, 2010
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Independent Study Project 2010‘How has the commodification approach to welfare impacted on today’s drug services?’                                                                              Author Mark PrykeIntroductionThis project is broken down into two main parts. Firstly it will explain what is meant by the commodification of welfare and why this project was chosen as a study piece. It will give an overview fitting the subject into a historical context mainly in Britain but with some international connections, then leading to the present day. As the text progresses there will be correlations made from different sources regarding certain processes, phrases and models that are milestones in the development this study. Some criticisms and observations will be offered throughout the study. The second part is a research project that was undertaken in order to determine what knowledge employees in drug services had in regards to this matter. This part will be set out as a research study with a clear methodology and report. The study was completed by compiling a short questionnaire and disseminating across two third sector organisations.References to the ‘impact on today’s drug services’ will be continuously made throughout the text with a penultimate paragraph summing up before the conclusion. The conclusion will sum up through reflection and offer critique with options for further study. To understand the term ‘commodification of welfare’ we must first clarify what is meant by commodification and then secondly welfare. Commodification is a word first termed in Marxist theory. It is the transformation of services or goods into a commodity in areas where market terms were previously unused. The commercialisation of services has brought with it a terminology and understanding that is more familiarly used in the private sector where trade is the fundamental purpose. Welfare is a word used to describe a person’s state of being. When used in conjunction with state it describes the provision of services that are offered to people who need specialist services to improve health and well being. Since the end of world war two in 1945 the welfare state has grown on a massive scale. It has been the target of many critics both for and against its existence.  Terms such as ‘welfare child’ and ‘welfare dependent’ have been well documented showing the impact the welfare state has had on society. In 1979 under a new conservative government, led by Margaret Thatcher, society as a whole faced unprecedented changes. For years the welfare state had been the brunt of many critics especially around its performance or indeed ‘lack of’ as the cost of running it had many a person wondering how the country would be able to fund its ‘spiralling costs’. This perception of efficiency was the result of evidence gained form studies from the late seventies into the eighties that formed the belief that the welfare state had lost its legitimacy.  The welfare state was targeted by the new government to apply radical changes from a ‘bureaucratic and administrative’ approach to a ‘risk management’ one. The conservatives were to bring in a new form of management that was performance led - an approach that was based on a style known as Neo - Taylorism. Neo - Taylorism was a term coined by Pollitt (1993) to describe the first period of change in the welfare sector. The early twentieth century saw Frederick William Taylor applying ‘scientific management principles’ to management. He saw workers as ‘units’ that responded to punishments and incentives. When applied to public management this approach facilitated a strengthening of ‘control and measurement’ through processes such as target setting, performance indicators and results, (Unsettling welfare, 1998). The conservatives were ever keen to monitor what they saw as an unproductive welfare state to justify any cost cutting exercises they introduced. The approach seemed to be a logical one considering the country...
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