Welfare state solidarity and support: the Czech Republic compared with the Netherlands



Rok publikování 2002
Druh Kapitola v knize
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Popis The chapter compares the legitimacy of and support for the social protection systems in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. It attempts to discern how the different economic and socio-political conditions of the transformation of the two countries social systems affect the general level of citizens support for and solidarity with the framework of the system. In addition, it also seeks to discover whether the changes in and the current state of affairs of the transformed social protection systems are thought to be legitimate by each country citizens. In the 1990s, the social protection transformation policies in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic followed the same trend: aiming to restrict and control the system expenditures. In this respect, the state-guaranteed collective protection system is fading; at the same time, the new systems increasingly favor selective and individual-based benefits targeting. In both countries, this development raises important issues concerning the entitlement criteria for the provided benefits. The social protection systems in both the Czech Republic and the Netherlands enjoy a high level of legitimacy and citizen interest. Likewise, solidarity or conditional solidarity models are similar. While programs designated to larger strata of the population are quite popular, programs targeting marginal groups do not enjoy such support. Since the system in the Czech Republic has fewer financial resources, conditional solidarity plays a more important role than it does in the Netherlands. At the same time, social equality is more strongly demanded in the Czech Republic; however, this only applies to those categories perceived as entitled to benefits. It needs to be noted that social equality and conditionality are not necessarily mutually exclusive. When benefits become restricted in a financially poor system, resources need to be saved and benefits have to be provided in a more reasonable manner. Evaluations of the legitimacy of the current system are affected by changes within it and changes in the general level of support for solidarity principles and entitlement criteria. Generally, the perceived level of the legitimacy of the current Czech social protection is very low. Citizens expressed the most critical views when asked about benefits and parts of the system that target groups considered to be the most entitled but whose claims were the most restricted during the transformation. In the Czech Republic, this is particularly the case for families that have children. The introduction of means-tested benefits was meant to provide benefits to those who are the most entitled and needy. However, citizens have perceived the system as unfair and providing insufficient protection against poverty.
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