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Social welfare programs are government-financed programs aimed at enhancing the social well-being of citizens and residents of a given country. Social welfare programs come in varying forms, depending on how they are financed, whom they target, and what types of social benefits they provide.
Through most of human history, social welfare was provided by families, religious organizations, charities, or local communities. After the rise of urbanization and industrialization in the nineteenth century, such measures proved inadequate to deal with the myriad social problems wrought by those historical processes. This led to social unrest, prompting governments—out of concern for citizens, efforts at economic efficiency, or fears of social instability—to begin providing social welfare benefits to their citizens, first in Western Europe and then later in other parts of the developed world.
Such programs expanded rapidly in the first decades after World War II but then began to be reversed with the slowing of Western economies in the 1970s and the recognition that the expansion of social welfare programs beyond a certain point produced diminishing returns and created negative, unintended consequences. Demographic pressures and economic globalization can be expected in the future to force changes in social welfare policies in the developed world, even as growing urbanization, industrialization, and wealth creation in the developing world may lead to expanded social welfare programs there. To read more about Social Welfare visit Credo Reference
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