SOCI 2030 Globalization: Assignment questions

What are the basic types of publicly funded aged-care support that are offered by Australian Governments? SOCI 2030 Globalization: Assignment questions

Question 1 around 500 words (6 marks)

Let’s go global!

We start by considering criticisms of the World Bank’s $1.90 USD a day (at purchasing power parity) threshold for counting extreme poverty. Please note that the Bank itself is aware of the limitations of this measure when used to make public policy.

  • What are Hickel’s main objections to the use of the $1.90 USD to measure progress in world absolute poverty levels? (2 marks). See his Blog posts here and here and here.
  • Read through the World Bank’s own efforts (here) to look beyond monetary measurements here. Briefly explain why they want a ‘multidimensional measure’ of absolute poverty. (2 marks)
  • Look over Table 4.4. In general terms, how do the monetary and multidimensional estimates of poverty compare? If you are having trouble following this Table, just focus on the ‘head count’ statistics. (2 marks)

Question 2 around 500 words (6 marks)

The Morrison Government established the Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission in late 2018 and it issued an Interim Report in September 2019. The Commission is ongoing. Let’s focus on a few core issues focused in the Interim Report here:

  • What are the basic types of publicly funded aged-care support that are offered by Australian Governments? (1 mark)  [Hint: Chapter 1, particularly Figure 1.1] 
  • Read the overview ‘A Shocking Tale of Neglect’. In no more than three sentences, highlight the most significant problems that the Commission has discovered about the sector. (1 mark)
  • Read over the content in Chapter 3 that details changing demography and funding needs in the aged care sector. At what point (i.e. age bracket) does aged care become the dominant type of welfare spending and what are the implications of this spending pattern for workforce planning and aged care expenditure as the population ages? (2 marks)
  • Read Chapter 9 on Workforce Matters. What problems identified in this Interim Report have been spectacularly highlighted in news reports and commentary about COVID-19 management in Australia? (2 marks)   

Question 3 around 500 words (4 marks)

Some questions about Australia’s increasingly troubled superannuation system:

  • What does the 1992 Superannuation Guarantee commit employers to? (1 mark)
  • In what sense is private superannuation a form of welfare? How would you classify it? (1 mark) [Hint: refer to the Titmuss reading in week 8]
  • Outline two features of the current public debate about the future of superannuation. What are the essential points of contention and what interests are involved? (2 marks)

Question 4 – about 500 words (4 marks)

Read Herbert Gans’s 1972 article ‘The Positive Functions of Poverty’ in the American Journal of Sociology. The article will soon be 50 years old, with the expression and references reflecting the style and approach of a different time.

Outline Gans’s main claims about the social ‘role’ of poverty. Your answer should explain clearly what Gans means by the ‘positive functions’ of poverty, outline the main themes in Gans’s assessment, and also say whether his analysis is still relevant today. Why is his argument still shocking to discussion and debate about the causes of poverty?

Question 5 – about 500 words (5 marks)

Welfare states are typically associated with two types of risk and redistribution. Some questions:

  • Briefly explain the two types of social risks that welfare states ‘insure’ against and why welfare states might do a better job than voluntary private insurance markets that provide things like income protection and health insurance. (2 marks)
  • In what sense are the extent of welfare state arrangements dependent on the balance of class forces or the power resources of different classes? (1 mark)

Politicians like President Trump are sometimes criticised for creating ‘a welfare state for the rich’. What is the substance of this criticism and how is it illustrated in policy? (2 marks)


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