Social provision must deliver societal wellbeing, not just welfare support

Posted 19th January 2017

Investment in child wellbeing produces social, health and economic gains for the whole of society.

The emergence, and positive benefits, of collaborative social investment, in contrast to a welfare ‘entitlement’ model, is something Dr David Stoesz, 2017 Australian Fulbright Scholar, is passionate about and has spent the last 30 years to studying, writing and advocating.

“Providing welfare, restrictive means-tested programs for the poor, is a model destined to fail. It creates not just a social and financial divide, but fosters and highlights inequality which paradoxically leads to greater poverty,” says Dr Stoesz.

Dr Stoesz, who is Carnegie Mellon University in Australia’s inaugural visiting Fulbright scholar, argues that we need to adopt a social investment model where more effective and efficient programs attract public support to advance social wellbeing.

Dr Stoesz with Professor Emil Bolongaita.

“In an investment state, in which public and private sectors collaborate, governments can assure services that are cost-effective, constructive, accountable, and consumer oriented,” said Dr Stoesz.

“Moreover, my findings reinforce that the social investment state is the most effective institutional model which addresses the welfare challenges of the 21st Century such as lower income tax revenue, decreased jobs in the marketplace, increased under-employment and unemployment.”

Dr Stoesz has joined Carnegie Mellon University in Australia as its inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy. He was most recently Professor of Social Policy at the University of Illinois-Springfield (US) and is the author of The Dynamic Welfare State and Quixote’s Ghost.

While in Australia, Dr Stoesz will research the Australian welfare model, comparing it to the USA, UK and European experiences. His research will form the basis of a monograph, which will outline his thoughts on a future course for the Australian welfare state in general, and the wellbeing of children, in particular. His work is also expected to form the basis of a follow-up book to his last publication The Dynamic Welfare State, tentatively titled The Investment State: Sequel to the Welfare State.

In a first for an Australian Fulbright Award scholar, Dr Stoesz will deliver an elective to CMU-A’s Master of Science in Public Policy and Management students in Adelaide and Pittsburgh, titled The Investment State: A Theory and Practical Implications.

Dr Stoesz during his "The Investment State: A Theory and Practical Implications" class lecture.

Students will explore the basic elements of the welfare state and the investment theory model with special attention on the historical evolution of social provision and then use this knowledge to present and critique evidence-based programs for marginalized Australians.

In addition, Dr Stoesz will deliver public lectures and meet with key stakeholders delivering and managing Australia’s social programs.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission offers scholarship opportunities to American citizens across various academic and career stages. The scholarships enable eminent scholars to undertake educational and cultural exchange between Australia and the United States in order to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen relations between the two countries. And seeks to build, and reinforce the importance of, educational excellence.

CMU-Australia has co-sponsored Dr Stoesz’ Australian award with Flinders University. He will spend the second half of his sabbatical at Flinders University in their Centre for United States and Asia Policy Studies.