People and Process in Social Security

By Karl De Schweinitz; American Council on Education Committee on Education and Social Security | Go to book overview

6. THE PERSONNEL OF SOCIAL SECURITY

Up to now we have advanced by a process of division of labor that is called specialization. There are today thousands of markedly different kinds of jobs in which men can employ their talents. But as we have specialized, the practical need for generalization and synthesis has grown in geometric ratio. Thus, our elaborate division of labor puts a new value on persons with capacity of a sort that approaches philosophy. Handlers of artifacts we have in abundance, but we have a desperate and growing need in our day for men and women who can deal in relationships.

-- PAUL H. APPLEBY1

LOOKING AT SOCIAL security when and where the legislature entrusts the enacted law to the executive, one might say that all the personnel of the program are extensions of the chief administrator. They are employed to do the things that he would do himself were he Argus-eyed and many-handed. Viewed at the time and at the place where the applicant comes to the organization, most of the personnel may be said to supplement or serve the workers who deal with this individual. Important though the skill of these men and women is, what they are able to do would not alone be sufficient to carry out the purpose of the law. Additional kinds of competence are necessary.

In the operations that take place between the determination that a person is entitled to insurance or assistance and the sending of a check to his home, the principles and the

____________________
1
Paul H. Appleby, Big Democracy ( New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1945), p. 66.

-77-

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