Friday, April 05, 2024

Beveridge 2.0

I contributed a piece to an LSE initiative a couple of years back called Beveridge 2.0. The initiative is led by Tim Besley and Irene Bucelli. Details are available on the link below. The initiative has held several workshops and published special issues around the theme of redefining the Social Contract for the 21st century. My piece with Michael Daly looked at integrating broader well-being measures into systemic response mechanisms. 

Beveridge 2.0 Redefining the Social Contract is an initiative that brings the LSE community together with the intent of exploring avenues for collaborative cross-disciplinary research. Over three-quarters of a century after the original Beveridge Report, which laid the foundations for the welfare state in the UK, new challenges have emerged putting strain on social sustainability and forcing us to reconsider the conditions underpinning the social contract.These challenges bring to the fore cross-cutting questions which require a global perspective and a focus on their interconnectedness. This can only be achieved through fostering dialogue across disciplines and Beveridge 2.0. Redefining the Social Contract aims to provide the space for this dialogue, recognizing the unique position of the LSE in contributing to the research and public debate around the solutions suited to the demands of the twenty-first century.

One thing thinking about the initiative has stimulated me to do is to go back and read the 1942 "Social Insurance and Allied Services" aka Beveridge report. It is a document of epic scale that sets the foundations for the British social security system to this day. The guiding principle is an assault on the social ill of "want" and among other things it sought to amalgate a number of functions of government under a single department that would ensure that people had income under a range of potentially adverse conditions. Many of the themes persist to now in particular the intricacies of designing systems of social insurance that preserve human dignity in adverse settings and are sustainable. As discussed in many seminars and papers in the Beveridge 2.0 sessions, the modern setting sees increased longevity, adverse housing, divided electorates, and several other challenges that qualitatively alter the landscape of the design of social security systems. It is well worth going through the sessions and papers on the Beveridge 2.0 website to at least get a sense of the types of discussions happening here around these issues. 

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