Exchanging Experiences, Expanding Opportunities

Political Economy of Targeting of Social Security Schemes

File Created On:
October, 2015

It is one of the great paradoxes of social security that neoliberals – the advocates of low taxes and low
social spending – can appear as the champions of the “poor” and the underprivileged. Ever since the
Washington Consensus, neoliberals have called for “social safety nets” to be “targeted at the poor.”
So, how is it that those holding a more progressive, social democratic ideology – the natural champions
of those living in poverty – argue for social security programmes to be inclusive and universally
accessible to all, including the middle class and affluent? Why is it that they appear to oppose the
neoliberal argument that the best way to help the “poor” is to target the “poor”?

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