Social Welfare and Harmony in East Asia and the Nordic Region

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The main purpose of this paper is to provide a critical assessment and a comparative perspective on social policies in East Asia and the Nordic region. Are there lessons to be learned from the models of social provisioning ensuring decent, secure and harmonious lives for all citizens - particularly the poor, the excluded sectors in society and the unemployed? East Asia might offer lessons for the Nordic region and vice versa in social welfare, equity and labour market policies. The paper asks whether the welfare systems of East Asian countries are distinctive with Confucian assumptions about harmony implicitly and hidden beneath the surface or are such notions about ethics and moral duties used as a social engineering strategy by the state and as a tool to discipline the workforce in order to create a conducive environment for a continuation of paternalism, developmentalism and hierarchies in labor markets and social welfare? These propositions are compared with the corporatist Nordic welfare model, which is rapidly changing into a workfare or competition state. In the end the question is whether these societies are converging or diverting in light of the present financial and social crisis in the world economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Theory and Asian Dialogues : Cultivating Planetary Conversations
EditorsAnanta Kumar Giri
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-7094-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-7095-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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