Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States Review

Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States
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This is a timely book that compares social policy in European nations with that in the United States. It offers a concise comparison of a number of specific programs, such as health care, education, family support, and income security, showing how citizens of European nations enjoy social support and benefits far beyond those available to many Americans. Double Standard also discusses contrasting historic and philosophical backgrounds to examine why there is a broad consensus across Europe that government has a responsibility to provide extensive economic and social support for all citizens while in the United States the role of government is challenged and curtailed. Double Standard suggests that European social policies provide a higher standard of living than that now maintained by many in the United States. It presents sharp contrasts between Europe and the United States in such indicators of social well being as rates of poverty and incarceration, educational levels, and income distribution.
The author in the end argues that European social policies are based upon a national sense of inclusion and the common good, that they promote such democratic principles as egalitarianism and active participation in civic life, and that they provide a model that the United States would do well to follow. Double Standard provides important information and arguments that should enter into our continuing debate over the role of government and appropriate levels of services that it should provide in the United States

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In the second edition of Double Standard, James W. Russell shows how and why different models of social and welfare policy developed in the United States and Europe. He comparatively examines how Europe and the United States have handled common social problems such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, family support, health care provision, ethnic and racial conflict, and crime. These different social policy orientations have produced disparate social ways of life, ways of life that are now in contention for the future of western societies.Today Europeans see their strong welfare states as necessary to counter the worst features of unrestrained capitalism. They pay high taxes to support generous social benefits. Americans, to the contrary, have been conditioned to shudder at the idea of a welfare state, upholding instead a laissez-faire faith in market solutions to social problems. They pay low taxes and have few tax-subsidized benefits.This new edition includes the latest available statistical information as well as an analysis of the 2010 health care reform in the United States. The book also compares the social consequences of the latest recession in Europe and the United States.

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