A new vision of the purpose of social policy is needed. Scaremongers present decision-makers as facing an overwhelming number of complex problems with more and more limited budgets. Society is indeed undergoing profound upheaval. Ageing populations are increasing pressure on the workforce. Changes in the labour market have hit low-skilled workers hard; the term “social exclusion” has entered the political lexicon, and policies can no longer be based on “traditional” family life. But social policy should not be presented as “papering over the cracks” in society caused by economic and demographic change. As knowledge plays an increasing role in generating wealth, empowering individuals to develop their potential is a central essential part of economic policy. Indeed, economic and social policies are more intertwined than ever.
This book paints a complete and accessible picture of the current situation and pinpoint how polices can be reformed. Social policy should aim to promote employment and health living, rather than just coping with joblessness and ill-health. Investing in children and families helps ensure that all can contribute full to society. Innovations and experiments in new social polices to better equip individuals and families with the support they need in responding to change abound in OECD countries. Ministers form OECD countries have committed themselves to he ambitious task of creating just such a caring world.