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The Government's Social Investment Approach: Why It Should Be Continued

Discuss about the Living Standards and Social Investments.

In order to understand the general term of social investment approach, it is imperative to break down the meanings of the components that form the term. Investment, which is the central figure, simply means the investing of money or capital in profitable projects to earn profitable returns. The profits are normally in the form of interest, income or even appreciation in value. Therefore, in the simplest terms, to invest is to allocate money in the expectation of future benefits or returns. In relation, the government’s investment approach is an ideal way of addressing the growing inequalities as well as increasing hardship that is subjected to inconvenienced people. Relatively, the title that the government has issued the policy and funding arrangement makes it sound that the project will be good for these families and generally for the society as a whole.

It is expected for the government’s social investment approach to be even better in the future credited to the numerous potential benefits associated with it (O'Brien, 2016). Consequently, it is equally important to point out that investing in such projects would mean unfortunate families have adequate incomes and enough good food. Additionally, their children don’t have to change schools constantly; they can afford to go to hospitals when sick and hence they can also afford to take part in the things that other normal people do (Bouget et al., 2015). However, the unfortunate thing is that, instead of allocating more budget to social as well as education services to support such projects, the government is, on the contrary, cutting its budget. The paper will, therefore, argue along the spectrum that the prior government’s social investment approach should be continued. However, there have been numerous debates pointing out that the approach should also be modified (Destremau & Wilson, 2017).

From the definition presented above, it has been made substantially clear that social investment approach uses data to weigh how services are offered to the most vulnerable population and access whether it works. Through the years, the topic has grown to be amongst the most highly controversial and debatable topics. The same explains why it is a key election issue and the frontrunners of politics understand the actual weight of the issue. The policy, therefore, is majorly streamlined to focus on some of the toughest social issue, hence making it a very necessary aspect of a country’s day to day operations (Deeming & Smyth, 2015). In relation, it is important to point out the fact that rather than eliminating the program or getting rid of it, it is the responsibility of each one of us to protect the program considering the tremendous benefits that it holds. Jonathan Boston, a professor of public policy in Victoria University argues in support of the thesis, claiming that abandoning the strategy would only lead to numerous other potential problems.

Positive Social Factors That Can Be Built on

From his perspective, the strategy is particularly useful and hence the new government should not only build on but also modify the building blocks that had already been founded. From a third-party perspective, one can argue that improvements to the current system can take the form of better evidence and analysis, more long-term funding, and also better relationships with social service providers (Ebrahim & Rangan, 2014). Other potential positive social factors that can also be built on include: ongoing investment, adequate funding as well as contracting arrangements. In summary of this main point, social investment has been classified as a program funded by the government that incorporates applying of resources today, in the hopes that a measurable improvement regarding policy interest will result at a given time in the future. Various countries nowadays use social investment approach, where most of them present consistent themes. In general, it encompasses issues such as gender equality, knowledge economy, income redistribution and youth unemployment (England, 2017).


However, in equal measures, there have been numerous counter-arguments presented to refute the main argument of the paper. One relevant example can be drawn from Bill Rosenberg, an official from the Council of Trade Unions. Rosenberg is less optimistic about the approaching primary because he believes that National version of social investments is technically fundamentally at odds with Labour’s core values. According to his arguments, national view of social investments holds the perspective that one can identify the neediest people through an analysis of personal characteristics like whether their father or mother was on a benefit. On the contrary, it doesn’t start with underlying causes such as poor housing, high unemployment and low incomes (Sherraden, & Gilbert, 2016). The central argument, in this case, is the importance of addressing the underlying causes, rather than solving the results of the causes. Investing in society, therefore, means that one has invested in everyone. However, despite the fundamental counter arguments presented by numerous sources, the central argument remains that the relevancy of the government’s social investment approach is something that cannot be overlooked and under-credited.

Living standards mean more than just income. When one talks about living standards framework, the blueprint presented is people having greater opportunities, capabilities, as well as incentives to live a life in which they face fewer obstacles in achieving their goals. Relatively, the Living Standard Framework does not set out to cover every single thing that matters, but on the contrary, aims to be focused, practical and measurable. Being focused ensures that the policy touches on the few things that the government can have an impact on and that can make the most difference (?tef?nescu-Mih?il?, 2015). On the other hand, being practical ensures that it can be used on a daily basis and finally, being measurable ensures that it is possible to access whether the change is being achieved. Consequently, it is justified to argue that the Living Standards Framework provides an alternative model within which the social investment approach might continue. The difference, however, is that the approach provides greater emphasis on measuring policy effectiveness across a broader set of indicators. An analysis of LSF indicates that it draws on OECD analysis of wider indicators of wellbeing. The three prevailing questions that indeed shows that it focuses on measuring policy effectiveness across a broader set of indicators include:

  • What are the current outcomes?
  • Will the outcomes be sustained or improved?
  • How resilient is the operational system?

Counterarguments: Why Some Are Against the Approach


Additionally, the LSF is embedded on four capitals that organise indicators of sustainable intergenerational wellbeing. The framework, therefore, accommodates all the relevant indicators. Consequently, it is safe to argue that LSF represents a continuation of the government’s social investment approach. The keen difference, however, is that the approach takes on a more holistic approach towards measuring the wellbeing of not just the current generation, but also the future generation (O'connor, 2017). The framework utilizes a broad conception of national wealth or national income that supports the measurement of economic as well as social progress (Mendes, 2017). Subsequently, this is unlike the traditional way that narrowly focused on national income. Consequently, what must be done now following the adoption of the framework is to take the presented wellbeing indicators and examine how to apply them in policy development as well as resource allocation. Generally, this will be a very huge development because, as it is as per now, no other country has progressed the idea of integrating standard measures into public policy development. Additionally, one of the greatest influencers of the development of the Living Standards Framework is to improve public policymaking. Because the treasury is the government’s lead financial adviser, the treasury plays a very significant role in the process (Sullivan & Mackenzie, 2017). On the other hand, LSF considers collective impact of policies on intergenerational wellbeing. Technically, it takes advantage of the fact that there exist many potential ways to understand and measure intergenerational well-being. What makes Living Standard Framework unique therefore is the fact that it starts with a definition of current living standards, and then uses the four capitals as a mechanism to organise intergenerational wellbeing indicators (Tai & Chuang, 2014).

Key lessons that can be learnt based on the framework is that it is useful, but not always very useful. Consistent feedback obtained from samples show that the Should long-term fiscal costs continue to be one of the measures of the Living Standard Framework is useful because it makes people think about a wider range of things. A relevant example includes it helps people who naturally think about equity to also think about economic growth. In simple terms, its flexibility allows it to be useful in different dimensions (Fenwick, 2017). However, in equal measures, it may not be particularly useful because it works best when there is a wide range of impacts involved. Consequently, it is less useful when small policies with a limited range of impacts are involved.

Living Standards Framework: An Alternative Model for Social Investments


The long-term fiscal cost can continue to be one of the key measures of LSF. Subsequently, this is because the treasury has through the years acknowledged the importance of diverse outcomes from government interventions. In practical terms, the role played by long-term fiscal cost in the measurement of the success of LSF is one that must be issued with the credit that it deserves (Warner & Sullivan, 2017). The budget, as well as routine information presented by such documents, are the very same resources that are used to inform crucial advice like the economy as well as fiscal updates, not forgetting the long-term fiscal statement and the investment statement (Luciani, 2015).

In conclusion, the paper has presented numerous arguments in support of the fact that the prior government’s social investment approach should be continued and additionally be modified. Supportive arguments have been presented pointing out the necessity of the program. The government’s investment approach has therefore been categorized as an effective way to address the growing inequalities as well as increasing hardship for people who are not well off. It is therefore extremely important to advocate for more government allocation to such projects rather than advocate for cutting on the already chocking budget. Remarks by professor Boston goes a long way to show what exactly the country stands to lose if the strategy is abandoned (Mendes, 2017). The key potential benefits outweigh what the country loses regarding revenues invested in the program. Therefore, if the results outweigh the expenditure of the process, it is potentially advisable to build on and modify the strategy. The counter arguments presented, despite the fact that they are equally compelling lack enough grounds to support why exactly the program is more of a distraction than a beneficial program. Additionally, it has also been proven that the living standard framework provides an alternative model through which the main ideas of Social investment approach will be continued (Blau, 2017). Generally, the additional aspect is the new model emphasises more on measuring policy effectiveness across a broader set of indicators.

References

Blau, P. (2017). Exchange and power in social life. Routledge.

Bouget, D., Frazer, H., Marlier, E., Sabato, S., & Vanhercke, B. (2015). Social investment in Europe. A study of national policies. European Commission, Brussels Google Scholar.

Deeming, C., & Smyth, P. (2015). Social investment after neoliberalism: policy paradigms and political platforms. Journal of social policy, 44(2), 297-318.

Destremau, K., & Wilson, P. (2017). Defining social investment, Kiwi-style. Social Investment: A New Zealand Policy Experiment, 32.

Ebrahim, A., & Rangan, V. K. (2014). What impact? A framework for measuring the scale and scope of social performance. California Management Review, 56(3), 118-141.

England, P. (2017). Households, employment, and gender: A social, economic, and demographic view. Routledge.). From CCTs to a social investment welfare state? Brazil's ‘new’pro?poor strategy. Development Policy Review, 35(5), 659-674.

Luciani, F. G. (2015). Allocation vs. production states: A theoretical framework. In The rentier state (pp. 77-96). Routledge.

Mendes, P. (2017). Australia’s welfare wars: The players, the politics and the ideologies. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 29(2), 145-148.

O'Brien, M. (2016). The triplets: Investment in outcomes for the vulnerable–reshaping social services for (some) New Zealand children.

O'connor, J. (2017). The fiscal crisis of the state. Routledge.

Sherraden, M., & Gilbert, N. (2016). Assets and the poor: new American welfare policy. Routledge.

?tef?nescu-Mih?il?, R. O. (2015). Social investment, economic growth and labor market performance: Case study—Romania. Sustainability, 7(3), 2961-2979.

Sullivan, R., & Mackenzie, C. (Eds.). (2017). Responsible investment management. Routledge.

Tai, F. M., & Chuang, S. H. (2014). Corporate social responsibility. Ibusiness, 6(03), 117.

Warner, M., & Sullivan, R. (Eds.). (2017). Putting partnerships to work: Strategic alliances for development between government, the private sector and civil society. Routledge.

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