In more than 20 books, Bill Jordan has made a unique contribution to topical debates in social policy and international perspectives on welfare. Social Policy for the Twenty-First Century fits the track record. It is imaginative and wide ranging. Jordan has a gift for writing in a way that combines challenging ideas with readability - something I first discovered when cutting my teeth as a lecturer in the 1970s with his Freedom and the Welfare State (1976).
The accessibility of Jordan's writing is important because the content of this book goes beyond the usual remit of a textbook. It is an original and broad discussion of the impact on human welfare of the huge changes taking place in the global economy. This text will appeal to readers who have an interest in, and concern about, global patterns of inequality.
But this book goes further than examining the impact of imposed liberalisation and international financial institutions on the poorest populations of the world. It includes sections on South-East Asian countries as test cases for the prospects of welfare development, the future of welfare states of the rich countries (including the UK) and the doubtful environmental sustainability of the economic and social policy paths followed this century.
The book will be of benefit to second and third-year undergraduates and postgraduates on courses in social policy and sociology, development studies and economics, and international relations and politics.
The only element missing is a full discussion of alternative views of globalisation. For example, there is no mention of Elmar Rieger and Stephan Leibfried's conclusion that globalisation is dependent on the maintenance of welfare states ( Limits to Globalisation , 2003). As Sweden and other northern European states show, globalisation does not necessarily erode industrial countries' capacity to sustain welfare states. Rather, high social expenditure can stimulate economic growth and the success of a country's economy in the global economy. That aside, this is an excellent overview of social policy on the world stage.
Social Policy for the Twenty-First Century: New Perspectives, Big Issues. First Edition
Author - Bill Jordan
Publisher - Polity
Pages - 296
Price - £55.00 and £17.99
ISBN - 0 7456 3607 1 and 3608 X