Ageing and the Law: Perspectives and prospects
Social policy changes reflect labour-market and other technological changes. Previous gains can be lost and concepts transformed, as shown by the political economy of 'health' and 'old age' ( Navarro, 1976, 1978; Phillipson, 1982). Age is a proxy for the economic worth (and wealth) of individuals, mediating access to economic production (through retirement policies). Social values about age are changeable, and often ambivalent ( Cole, 1986; Gratton, 1986: 3-29; Kendig et al., 1986; Arber and Ginn, 1991: 263; Edgar, 1991: 14). Ageing is both cause for optimism and a basis for some people's being wary of others' special vulnerabilities, including society's lack of sensitivity to difference in terms of age, location, family composition, skills, health status and level of disability ( Hicks, 1991: 5-7).
Ageing is generally unproblematic. Needs are met by family and friends, without involving the law or the state. However, countries see different roles for the welfare state in organising services ( Olsen, 1994). Many Islamic and Asian legal systems require adult children to support their parents -- a privatised form of welfare state, as were the British Poor Laws ( McDonald and Soriano, 1994: 114). Welfare state models also differ: the Scandinavian countries adopt a universalist social-democrat model, while the German/French model is more 'conservative- corporatist' (securing middle-class 'insurance' entitlements forged in partnership with unions). Australia's form of 'working class labourism' -- where public sector (welfare) benefits principally accrue to participants in the work force ( Taylor- Gooby, 1991: 96-7) -- might influence policies and laws about the aged. However we would not expect to find any emphasis on 'contractual agreements' or required work force participation akin to that required of the unemployed ( Kerlin, 1993; Weatherley, 1994).
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Ageing and Social Policy in Australia. Contributors: Allan Borowski - Editor, Sol Encel - Editor, Elizabeth Ozanne - Editor. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, England. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 249.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.