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The dynamic landscape in people’s management has called for the introduction and implementation of a number of strategies aimed at improving the levels of organizational performance. The role of people as a key ingredient in the realization of a country’s and organizational objectives forms the main reason behind greatest attachment to their well-being. The debate of individualism and collectivism have for many years dominated several the research studies on the political policy and social welfare. Although the extent and propensity of these two constructs have deeply been advanced and calls for a critical analysis. Majority philosophical thoughts shows that their specific societal orientations which is responsible for mental orientation towards a specific cognitive action with an inclination of either individualism or collectivism (Macarov, 1995). The social welfare which is anchored on collectivism has a greater power than social welfare achieved from individualism. The study takes a critical and succinct analysis of social welfare policies in relation to collectivism and individualism. To adequately bring out the discussion, the paper takes a comparative study of Japan and US social welfare policy and some of the independent variables that impact the policy adopted.Public reforms on pension schemes, health care systems and labor market strategies are amongst the most critical political policies in many countries such as Japan and the US. The rationales behind government involvement in welfare reform vary across the globe. However, in general terms, the motivation toward social welfare include a budgetary limitation and projection on health care spending increase, social services and universal pension systems.An international economic crisis coupled with a paradigm shift in global production and employment patterns have led to the new unemployment situation.The dynamic nature of societal life and political forces have placed immense pressures on public policy makers to embrace a paradigm shift to strategies and reforms which embrace the reinforcement of perceptions of welfare policies as a political discourse. However, the conventional welfare concepts which lean towards huge welfare statism are fading. Instead most governments’ social welfare is controlled by market condition.
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To highlight the benefits of collectivism in relation to social welfare policy
To analyze the welfare policy in both Japan and the US
To examine how independent variable impact policy creation in a country
In this in depth study, the researcher adopts a comparative analysis of two countries that is Japan and the US. In this regard, the study will use secondary sources and case studies in its analysis. The methodology adopted is prompted by the need to have a deep practical sense of the social welfare policy implications in every country based on the model used.
Individualism entails a concept of a self-orientation which put more emphasis on self-adequacy and individual control. In the concept of individualism, the pursuit of personal is the overriding power and not the group achievements (Macarov, 1995). Individualists are unwilling to contribute to collective activities unless their personal efforts are fully rewarded and recognized. In this regard, they prefer things which are geared towards individual benefits rather than group activities.
Collectivism entails the subordination of individual interests to embrace the aspiration of the larger work group and putting a lot of emphasis on sharing of everything, cooperation among the members, and the existence team harmony and the need for group welfare (Macarov, 1995). Collectivist believes that he or she is an indispensable part of a group, and is willing to contribute without emphasis on advantage being taken of him or her or whether other members are playing their role adequately. Collectivists feel responsible for the group prosperity and are mostly oriented towards equal benefits from group rewards.
There is a strong correlation that collectivism results in a strong universal welfare policy while individualism results in a weaker social welfare programs. This is because collectivism brings forth the strength of teamwork while individualism is weak since a collapse of one person make the whole concept to fail.
The current and futures of Japan's social welfare program have been shaped by the aging of its population.In 1975 the Japan’s medical insurance and social security took 60% of the total social welfare cost. By the year 1980s, the total cost of pension contributed to 50% of the total social welfare. In this regard, Japan was forced to embrace a paradigm shift in its planning toward social welfare. In Japan, some individuals are entitled to corporate retirement benefits. This program depicts the spirit of collectivism concept in policy making in relation to public social welfare. Japanese economic power gives it the opportunity to afford the aspect of universal public social welfare more so in the health sector (Cross, & Madson, 1997). The concept of homogeneity in the society has been shaped by the contours historical background with is strongly anchored on both capitalism and socialism.
Japan is endowed with a lot of resources and the country enjoys economic growth which as placed it in the global map as one of the world best economies. In this regard, the country can easily afford the program of universal health care and collectivism concept in policy making towards social welfare. Therefore, the most important is adequate planning and the political good will. Japan is therefore capable of giving its citizens the best social welfare since it has all it takes for such program to succeed.
Collectivism creates a stronger welfare policy
Inclusion for all:Collectivism ensures that even people with very intricate needs, or the very elderly, accommodated to benefit from direct payments. Collectivism creates a device for participation in a national economy which makes a strong element in terms of financial power. Japan’s historical background on Confucianism makes it to adopt collectivism. Confucianism is the concept which embraces humanism with a philosophical attitude that describes human beings based on their achievements and interests, without the influence of theology. Confucianism put man at the central point of the universe. This is because man cannot live alone, but with other people. In addition, the principle goal of man is individual happiness and the required condition for happiness is through peaceful coexistence. Consequently, Confucianism teachings on human relations consist of the five relationships which are based on love and duties. War is not allowed and the concept of greater unity of the universe is critical.
Confucianism is a way of life in the society. This is because peace and cohesive living which the concept of Confucianism teaches are the tenet of peace across the globe. Tradition and societal norms should always spread peace among the people so that they can achieve the ultimate goal of happiness. In addition, it represents a body of noble ethical teachings and important political ideologies which are geared towards the realization of a better world. Despite the fact that the concept of Confucianism discourse has embraced the beliefs of supernatural notion of tien (Heaven), it fails to explain the own beliefs of heaven and how it is connected to human life.
The Japan’s top leadership has been strongly supporting the need for universal social welfare. The government through its policy instrument has been putting strategies which are geared towards social. Japanese government led by the legislature have for many years supported policies which are geared towards making the society homogeneous through collectivism strategies. According to Palestini (2011), strong leadership is critical for good policy development.
Japan has over the years embraced universal social health care which is embraced on collectivism. However, the economic situation has called for integrating policies which make it a cost sharing concept with the government. In 1975 the Japan’s medical insurance and social security took 60% of the total social welfare cost. By the year 1980s, the total cost of pension contributed to 50% of the total social welfare. In this regard, Japan was forced to embrace a paradigm shift in its planning toward social welfare. In Japan, some individuals are entitled to corporate retirement benefits.
The economic crisis has made the counties to face several challenges when it comes to policy implementation. The recent economic crisis forced the government to cut several spending more so on public social welfare. In this regard, the policy toward universal welfare is at stake and calls a creative measures to balance between collectivism concept and individualism.
Comparative analysis of Japan and America
Japan policy on social welfare leans more towards collectivism and universal social welfare which strongly anchored on the county historical belief on elements of socialism. However, the American concept of social welfare leans towards individualism since the recent universal health care program adopted by the Obama’s government has brought a lot of heated debate among the political divide.
United state of America
The U.S. social welfare system evolved due to its societal norms and economic and social conditions. The United States was an expanding country with an enormous frontier vibrant economy. Up to 1870. The US has an entrenched history of the American dream which motivate people to believe that no matter what, everyone should enjoy a good life. In the context of social welfare, the government over the year had preferred a policy which is geared to individual choice. However, the changing dynamics of economics coupled with failures of the earlier adopted policies has seen the change to embrace collectivism concept. In this regard, the government makes policies which are geared towards making everyone enjoy social welfare based on everyone’s contribution.
1). Collectivism creates a stronger welfare policy
Collectivism brings in the strength of the majority and the power of teamwork. This makes the social welfare cheap for the less unfortunate in the society. The Medicare and Medicaid have been losing money to many private health care providers who are motivated by the money but not the service. Universal health care will ensure that the people get the best health care at affordable rates in the market.
(2) Leadership in making welfare policy
Leadership is critical in policy making. This is because there are a lot of lobbying and consultation for a decision to be made. In America, the government of Obama has succeeded in providing for universal health care by creating a law which governs it.
The majority of these legislations by federal and the state has focused on availing tax incentives to employers who provide qualified wellness programs to their employees. One such legislation is the Healthy Workforce Act (H.R.3717/S.1753) that would provide a ten year tax credit of up to $ 200 per employee for the first 200 employees, and up to $ 100 for every employee thereafter, for employers who provide qualified comprehensive wellness programs. Another bill is Wellness and Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 853) which would avail wellness tax credit cuts of $200 for every employee per year to those employers who would develop and implement a qualified wellness program in the workplace. Other bills proposed are also aimed at inciting employers to develop wellness programs. In this regard, many employees will get access to medical services. The major shortfall of these programs is that not all people form part of what we describe as employees. This means that not all of our people will be adequately covered.
These programs include the Work Health Implementation Program (WHIP) Act of 2007 (H.R. 1748/S. 1038) that would equalize the tax treatment of employer-subsidized off-site and on-site facility fees, dues and membership expenses for employers who use such facilities. These are government interventions to help reduce the cost of health care. It is logical to congratulate the federal government on these moves which are geared towards reducing the cost of health care as well as creating sanity among the health care providers. On this basis, free health care provided to those who cannot afford still forms the best choice the government has to improve the health indicators of the nation.
The Help America Act (H.R 2633/S.1342) on the other hand would provide an employer with credit for wellness programs and exclude employer-paid fitness facility fees from an employer’s income (Benefits Body, 2008). States is also forging some legislation to cut down on health care costs. Wellness tax credits have been proposed in a lot of states such as Hawaii, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, among other states. For example, in California, there is a pending bill awaiting legislation that would require employers with more than 10 employees seeking to do business with the state (contracts worth $1 million and above) to provide their California employees with fitness-related benefits.
A legislation is waiting in New Mexico which would offer a $200 tax cut to employers with 200 or fewer employees (and a $100 credit for those with more than 200 employees) that provide qualified and comprehensive programs for employees living in the state of New Mexico. Other states such as Maryland, New Mexico and Rhode Island have mandated employers to provide smoking cessation programs within the health plan coverage they offer employees. These deductions which are made by employers on their employee salaries to cover for health care provision are expensive hence leave the employees with inadequate resources to live a meaningful lifestyle. This fact again necessitates the need for free and affordable health care services to those who cannot afford them. In the state of Virginia, Medicare recipients will soon be required to sign a member agreement, promising to show up for medical appointments, follow up a healthy regimen and take medications as directed. This will see them get extra benefits such as mental health counseling and home health visits. It is worth appreciating the positive role both Medicare and Medicaid programs have contributed to the provision of health services to those who cannot afford personal heath arrangement. The problem is that these two programs have experienced the highest levels of fraud in our history.
Our attempts to provide quality health care have resulted in the development of several policies from the state to address the welfare of its state employees. The worksite wellness policies are meant at providing the foundation for state entities to develop activities and modify work environment and policies to support the health and well being of state employees. In addition to the benefits for the employees, the positive benefits are also bound to accrue to the families of the employees, resulting in better health for families and the community. The above policies are formulated in partnership with the office of state personnel (OSP), and the NC Department of health and Human Services Division of Public Health (DPH), where each head is supposed to create and participate in a work site wellness program within his or her own agency or university. The primary focus of these initiatives is to promote healthy lifestyles including healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco use cessation and stress management.
It would be prudent to state that the current health care cost burden is multifaceted, placing most businesses, federal government and the entire population in a quandary when it comes to health care provision. The changes in lifestyle have particularly impacted the health of workers and the entire population at large. Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, stresses in the workplace, and drug and substance abuse, to name a few issues, predisposes the population to a higher risk of developing complications that may require health care interventions. The sum of a more immobile population, a variable in fitness climate, a more complex disease base, and an increase in health care expenditure have equaled to a heavier financial burden for the Americans. The interest in the health and wellness of Americans may therefore be grounded in financial incentives. There is the belief that the potential improvement to personal wellness, organizational finance and federal and state budget expenditure can be realized through better health care policies delineation.
These are allegations which are not supported by facts. For instance, people with the opposing views on Obama health care policy use logical fallacy to argue against it. This is evidenced with the republican calling it a death policy which is pure fallacy.
The federal government should demonstrate its ability to provide quality health care to the people who cannot afford it. This is because private health care providers are motivated by profit. On this line, the government should come to the rescue of its people who cannot afford efficient and reliable health care by drafting and adopting legislations and rules that governs health care provision sector.
3. Resource availability: America is the global superpower and it is endowed with resources not only to adopt universal social health care but also to ensure that its citizen are well cared for.
(4) Historical background of welfare policy
America embraces the concept of capitalism which has seen every sphere of life being controlled by the market condition (Daun, 1991). However, in social welfare, the concept of capitalism has not worked right hence the need for a paradigm shift towards a universal social welfare. It is important to important to note that a nation’s economic development and technological progress is directly pegged on the health of its people. In this regard, the disease poses a big threat to economic development. The federal government should therefore enact health care policy that seeks to provide health care services to all the people regardless of their social and economic status. This will go along way in reducing the cost of treating chronic diseases which might prevent way before they are contracted by the people. This health care provider will see an increase in the general life expectancy of people in the country.
In this endeavor to provide health care to services to the entire citizen, the government will not only show its commitment to diligently serve the citizen but also unify the nation thus promoting peace and economic development. It is a general knowledge that sick person cannot efficiently work and help in the development of a nation but a healthy and prudent citizen will not only work efficiently but also bring about technological progress which in turn benefits the nation.
Although some opponent of free and affordable health care services to those who cannot afford it argue that the plan is expensive for the government, I strongly disagree with them on the basis that they are blurred to an extent that they cannot see and comprehend that it is the people that give the federal government through tax, business just name a few. Therefore, the plan can never be expensive for a sick nation will not be efficiently productive to guarantee a steady economic development as well as a nation survival.
(5) External influences
America has been strongly hit by the global economic crisis. This has made it difficult to succeed in some of its plans such reduction of the unemployment rate in the country. In addition, the external wars which the country is involved in its quest to spread democracy is draining most of its resources. Thereby planning for universal health care and funding it has been difficult. However, the government is working hard to ensure that everybody feels good in the country.
Economic concepts are the integral part of the policy development process. Therefore, the economics knowledge is important for not only economists but also everyone to get acquainted with economic term so as to grasp economic ideas. The concept of demand and supply are mutually dependent. It should be noted that demand greatly influence the supply. The reasons why policies which are geared towards the stimulation of demand are important are as follows: First, demand is the ultimate is what bring gives the direction of supply. The propensity to purchase and consume is directly influenced by demand. For instance, one would only buy what he or she needs which is coupled with the financial capability. On the contrary, one cannot buy an item due to its supply in the market
The American Dream is a great concept which should be emulated by many countries. However, the true spirit of the Dream should be maintained. This is because the recent occurrences in political, economic and social arena depict that many people have lost the meaning of the American dream but rather peruse individual interest without responding to the plight of the other people. The recent global economic crisis which finds its roots in America is a true reflection that the American Dream is far realization. This is because most people and companies have taken free economy and high democratic space in the country as a stepping stone of achieving their own dreams but not the American Dream. In this regard, the concept of the American Dream is a great idea which calls for the selfless efforts of everybody to do right things.
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