Equality and Income Security in Market Economies: What’s Wrong with Insurance?

Equality and Income Security in Market Economies: What’s Wrong with Insurance?,” Social Policy and Administration 40:4, August 2006. 

“This article critically assesses the marketization of income security, and identifies links between equality, self‐reliance and welfare reform. Marketization in emergent economies is distinguished by a strong separation between the use of insurance for the mainstream economy and relief for the poor. The impact of this model on the shaping of working lives and on market rigidity is discussed through a review of implications in the areas of subsistence, integrity interests and employment transitions. The broad faith in insurance solutions is argued to derive from a highly abstract approach to welfare reform and to result in a lack of attention to uneven and unstable markets, and to self‐government as a motive to work. Evidence of this emerges from a comparison of insurance in its more ideal form (in Chile) with modified models (Brazil and Korea). In the last two cases a developmental orientation has aided in the provision of broad‐based security. Other factors that appear to enhance the importance of direct assistance are also discussed, including aspects of state administration and labour services that limit work opportunity and individual autonomy in uneven economies. The segregated dual approach to income security is argued to be broadly deficient, but not because insurance is inherently wrong. Countries as diverse as Barbados and Denmark show that more cohesive economies are a better foundation for integrating insurance with general welfare and for income security and individual enterprise broadly conceived.”