Social Policies for the Elderly in the Third World

By Martin B. Tracy | Go to book overview

5
Mexico: Government Commitment to Social Policies for the Elderly

The role of the federal government in addressing the social, income, and health care needs of the elderly in Mexico is closely linked to a dominant national ideology that the state has the ultimate responsibility of providing social security as a basic human right for all citizens. Mexico has a tradition of a profound commitment to a universal, comprehensive system of social security that protects individuals and families from the exigencies of a money-based, industrial society: namely, loss of income due to poor health, short-term sickness, disability, old age, unemployment, and work injury. Government involvement in providing this protection is viewed as not only desirable but essential to both social justice and the development of a strong economy ( Cruz, 1951). Equally important, a national system of social security is seen as critical to preserving the dignity of the individual ( Aguilar, 1989).

The doctrine of social security universality is widely accepted in Latin America, including Mexico, which holds that social security is a right to all members of society as a guarantee of their social welfare ( Diaz, 1979). It is a doctrine that is firmly established as an ideological goal for the governments of Latin America, reflecting endorsements of a series of labor principles and conventions that were advocated at the first Latin American social security conference held in Chile in 1942, the Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944, the Conference of Chapultepec in 1945,

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