RRC News

We are Renske, Renske and Charlotte, and we write weekly blogs about what's going on in the world. Hope you enjoy!

The welfare state — 1 June 2017

The welfare state

In the modern world we know three different models of the welfare state. In each region we know a different one.
In the Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland the Scandinavian model is used. The keyword in this model is ‘flexicurity’, this is a combination of a flexible labour market and a strong social security system. The benefit of this system is that the flexible labour market allows for the easy dismissal of employees and ensures the people that they can find another job without much trouble. In this way there are many people with a job., because If you make it easier for people to work, it may be the case that more will. Another great advantage of the Scandinavian model is the strong social security system. It provides high benefits for its citizens. The con about this model is that it doesn’t give the employees any security, because of the easy dismissal of a job. Another very important disadvantage is that all citizens bear a heavy collective tax and may not choice for themselves where they spent their income on.

The next model is called the anglo-saxon model, this one is used for example in England and the United States . You can think of this model as the opposite of the Scandinavian model. This means they don’t have extensive social security, because liberal values like self-sufficiency, freedom and private initiative are considered to be more important. Many people think this is a great model, because people may choose for themselves where their income is being spent on. People who are against the model can reason that because of the lack of social security, people with less money will not be able to receive the help when needed.

the third and last model is the Rhineland or corporatist model. This model is used in the Netherlands and is a combination of the two models mentioned above. The free market is partly contained by the well-developed collective sector and on the other hand the government. Social security is important, but less available than in the Scandinavian model. Therefore people are partly free to choice where to spent their income on and partly have the security when they fail. This often is very important for many people. The only thing you can argue on this model is that it’s that for example women do not benefit so much, because they don’t get well enough supported by the government when they get a child.

My decision is very clear of which of these three models I prefer and that is the Rhineland or corporatist model. It challenges people to do their job great and work hard. It gives people a change, but doesn’t do the work for them. I think it’s great that there is a minimum of social security so no one will fall to hard and will always by slightly supported by the government. This model is already used in the Netherlands and to my opinion it’s doing great so therefore I choice the Rhineland or corporatist model to be my preference.

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

Three different welfare states — 30 May 2017

Three different welfare states

We live in a welfare state. The government partly takes care of its citizens when it comes to healthcare, education, and other facilities. Here in the Netherlands we have a Rhineland model, but there are two other models as well. Which one of them is the best is for you to decide?

The Scandinavian model: (Social-democratic)

The biggest aspect of this welfare state is the emphasis on the large labour force participation and the social insurance funds. Because of the strong social security system a lot of people are employed. The people who are already working can work more or longer each day because of the advanced level of public services, money for day care for children for example. Whomever is unemployed can easily find another job because of this as well. They receive enough money to keep living their normal life and on top of that they are given a training course whenever it does takes longer to find a good job. These advanced social securities do costs a lot obviously. The tax burden is therefore a lot higher than in other welfare states. In the social democratic welfare state there is little inequality and also women have a large role in the labour market, this mainly due to the high tax efforts in the field of child care and education.

Advantages:

  • High benefits
  • Strong social security system
  • High employment rates
  • Little inequality between class and income

Disadvantages:

  • Public services very expensive
  • High tax burden
  • Government very involved in labour market

 

The Anglo-Saxon model: (Liberal)

This system has a way less extensive social security than the Scandinavian system. The government plays a very small role in the social security of its citizens; healthcare and education are facilities which people have to pay for themselves. It provides only the basic needs and the benefits that are provided are usually of poor quality. To be entitled to one, you have to meet a lot of conditions. The government wants the market to act as co-provider for public services, but this creates a two-class society. The poor, unemployed or low skills-sector, people who can only depend on the poor public services and the middle class in which people have a good job and therefore receive better services provided by the market. Because of all this the taxes are much lower than in any other welfare state.

Advantages:

  • Very low taxes
  • Stimulates job growth (in low-skills sector)

Disadvantages:

  • High inequality
  • Two class society
  • Large difference in income
  • Weak social security system

The Rhineland model: (Corporatists)

This welfare state is a combination of the two states mentioned above. The social security is provided by both the collective sector and the government. Everything that has to do with your job is regulated via the collective sector, such as benefits for illness, dismissal and retirement. Also when you get fired your employer should still pay you a part of your regular income for a period of time. Afterwards the government takes of the benefits. Healthcare and education is partly provided by the government as well. In this way the tax burden isn’t really high. There is however a inequality between men and women when it comes down on the public services. Since they are based on the how long an employee has worked somewhere and the fact that women need more social benefits; maternity leave and child care.

Advantages:

  • Proper social security
  • No high tax burden

Disadvantages:

  • Reaches towards the Anglo-Saxon model very fast
  • Depends on employment conditions

 

The article I read on the internet stated that the Scandinavian model might be the model we should use all over the world. At first you might think that whenever the benefits are large and the taxes are high, a lot of people will stay home instead of finding a job. But whenever you make it easier for people to work, more people will work. When transportation is cheap and accessible and day care for children is subsidized a lot of people might go to work rather than sit at home and watching the children.

The Scandinavian welfare state is in my opinion the best model. The model provides social services which are least dependant on how someone is doing in the market. This makes sense to me, because those who really need it are the ones who are unemployed or have a low income. Everyone has equal rights on those benefits and that’s how it should be. Also the government is very involved in the day care and elder care, from which we all know that in our welfare state, the Rhineland model,  that is a large problem and brings up many discussions. The big investments in education and child care is also very important. Once everyone has got a good education, even the ones who could have never paid it for themselves, can have a good job. It all starts with education. Because of the benefits in child care, it’s easier for women to work the same amount as men do. Most of the time it’s still the mother who takes one day off every week to be at home with the children.

Another reason for me to choose this model is the way unemployment is handled. Very few people are unemployed and those who are have no reason at all to panic. The unemployed receive good benefits from which they can easily live their life like before. When it takes to long for some people to find another job, they get a training course. In this way, employers will hire you sooner because you are retrained and up to date with wherever you would like to work. It happens a lot here in the Netherlands that people at an older age apply for a job for which they were schooled 20 years ago. Then the employer would rather have younger people, with fresh eyes, working for them.

Of course the tax burden is very high, but on the other hand, you are less dependent on your income with all the public services.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d

Never offline, not even while driving — 26 May 2017

Never offline, not even while driving

Everybody knows how dangerous or even deadly it can be. On top of that, it’s illegal and the amount of the fine is 230 Euros. Still, too many people are calling, texting or even playing games on their phone while they are driving. The amount of car accidents has increased to half a million in the last year. The presumption is that the use of the mobile phones while driving is the main cause of this increase. Many people are involved in this, because there are a lot of unnecessary accidents with innocent victims.

You can find warnings and campaigns to avoid the phone use while driving everywhere, even on social media. The apps that are used also often give a notification which tells you not to use their app while driving, but still his is not enough to stop the people from doing it..

There are no exact statistics of the number of drivers that use their mobile phone while driving. The reason for many people to use their phone is because they find it difficult to stay offline for such a ”long” time. In a way, they are addicted to the internet. A lot of the drivers can’t handle it to be unavailable during the ride, especially the young ones.

This is not the only reason. Many people are too stubborn to listen to the warnings and campaigns. They want to decide for themselves if they are able to use their phone while driving without causing accidents. They feel that if somebody else isn’t able to use their phone without causing accidents, this doesn’t count for them as well.  Many people also are willing to take the risk, because the chance that you will get caught by the police is very small.

Personally I think it’s great that there already are campaigns and warnngs on the phone use in the car and I think we should continue making these only on a bigger scale next to the highway for example. Another great solution would be that the police checks way more often for people using their phones while driving and increase the fine for this. Also, there are some providers that are trying to make the phone switch off automatically when you drive faster than a certain speed. I think this is a great idea, because people won’t have a choice whether or not to go on their phones and won’t be attempted to. I think that the notification some apps give should not just say ”don’t go on your phone while driving”, but it should be a message with a bigger impact on the driver. For example a photo or a story about an accident with an innocent victim just like he warnings on cigarette packaging.

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

The American health care system — 25 May 2017

The American health care system

Imagine you get severe illness in the Netherlands, the only thing you should worry about is getting better. The costs for your treatment are covered  by all the people in the Netherlands, including yourself, because of the health insurance we all pay. This is not the case in America. When you get severely sick or just break a leg and you aren’t wealthy enough to afford the hospital bills the only reliability you have is charity. This is because of the liberal thinking in America, everybody should take care of their own business.

In the Netherlands everybody is obligated by the law to have a basic health insurance and the medicine market is regulated by the government. This isn’t the case in America, it actually is the absolute opposite. Many people don’t have a health insurance, because it is too expensive and they are hoping they will not need hospital help. The medicine market is a free market that’s no regulated by the government. This results in too expensive medicine that many people can’t afford. The producers of medicine will only produce profitable medicines.
Who are involved in this social problem you may ask? First of all the current president Donald Trump. He is the one who supports the liberal thinking and is against the idea of a basic health insurance for everybody. Furthermore the government is also responsible for not taking part in the medicine market, although this would be much better. The other people that are involved are of course the American citizens who are the victims  of this health care system.

I think this is a problem which should be as soon as possible be solved, because health is one of the most important things in life and should be taken very serious. I’m not the only one who thinks that there need to be some changes made in the American health care system. Obama, the former president of the United States, had recognized the same problem and came up with the idea of  Obamacare.

Obamacare is a new law that especially made some big changes in the health care insurances. It was mandatory for all Americans to get a basic health insurance, the people that refuse to get an health insurance are obligated to pay 95 euros extra taxes each year. If Obama got through with this law there wouldn’t be any Americans who should leave their house, because they cannot afford the hospital bill. Unfortunately when Donald Trump became president last year the Obama care was shut down and the American health care system is back to its old liberal way. So there is a solution to this social problem, but the people are not so far that they will get through with the solution, unfortunately.

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

Terror attacks in Manchester — 5 May 2017

Terror attacks in Manchester

Last Monday evening, the 2nd of May, there has been a terror attack during a concert of Ariana Grande. 22 life’s have been taken and there are dozens of people heavily injured, amongst them are many children. The terrorist group IS claims the same night responsibility for this attack. Greater Manchester Police declared the incident a terrorist attack and suicide bombing. It was the deadliest attack in the United Kingdom since the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

There are many different people involved in the problem of terrorist attack. Of course there are the victims. Many, many victims which are normal, innocent people who find themselves on the wrong place at the wrong time. Most of these people don’t have the power to do anything about this tragic problem, because they aren’t the once responsible for that job.
The once who are responsible for this job are the people with power, such as the queen herself, the prime  minister and the minister of defence. They try their hardest to prevent terrorism, but if it does happen they aren’t the once to blame ( which most people think they are ). The people who are responsible for the terrorist attacks are the guilty ones. Those people who are willing to die for something they think it’s a good cause and where this is permitted by their religion are the once to blame. These people usually are part of a bigger terrorist group, which in case of the Manchester attack is the IS. Because of the many different people that are involved in these tragic terrorist attacks, this is called a social problem.

The biggest issue are the religious people who are willing to die for which they think is a good cause and take many innocent people with them. This is the first absolute first reason for this social problem, the second however is the lack of security to prevent those terrorist attacks and the question here is; How far should we go to prevent the terrorist attacks? Think of closing border in Europe, have more social security and invade people’s privacy? Who says that that will help? If people are willing to give up their life and take others with them, there will be some people that will succeed, for sure.

I think this social problem is really hard to solve, because how do you reason with unreasonable people and persuade them that the good cause were they are fighting for isn’t good at all?  The only thing reasonable solution to this problem is education. You should educate the children who are in risk to become a terrorist and teach them about different point of views. Maybe they will become reasonable human beings. But I don’t have much faith, reasoned by a realistic point of view, that we can ever stop terrorism .

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

To make an effort and get involved — 4 May 2017

To make an effort and get involved

Social isolation is a growing epidemic, one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. With the modern technology these days, many people do not feel the need to get out and have face to face contact when it is not necessary. When you are looking for a job, you right an email with your cv in it. When you want to find a partner, you don’t go to the bar to meet someone. No, you will go on a dating site who will find your “perfect match”.

The physical and mental problems that come with social isolation are for example disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones. One recent study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent.
There are many people involved in this social problem. Almost everybody in developed countries that have modern technology available is in risk of becoming social isolated. There are different levels on which a person will get influenced by these things that cause social cohesion, for example social media.  There are people who like to see what others have been up to and spent approximately 1 or 2 hours a day on social media, but there are other people whose life is controlled by it. This wouldn’t be such a big problem if they occasionally went out the house to have some social contact off the internet, but this often isn’t the case.

my solution to the problem actually is pretty simple. I will give you one example of an organization that brings people together and causes a increase in social isolation. The Alpe D’Huez foundation. This is a organization in which all individuals make teams and raise money for charity, the KWF in this case. First of all you will need to organize a lot of social events to raise the money which is needed to participate. Secondly you will have a lot of human contact with all the others in this project and you will have a common cause to fight for and this gives you a feeling of belonging somewhere. This is ideal to fight social isolation.

The example that I gave you represents the solution to this social problem and that is a common cause or interest. This can be fighting cancer, but it can also be something smaller like a cooking club with people who all like to cook. The only thing we leave to the people is to make an effort and get involved.

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

Obesity — 21 April 2017

Obesity

Food proportions are getting bigger, fast food is getting cheaper and modern technology doesn’t give us the need to go outside anymore. All of those things listed above are changes that have more than doubled the amount of people with obesity since 1980.  Obesity is taking many life’s, because of the hart and vascular diseases that come with having obesity. Even when obesity doesn’t kills you, it can still ruin your life by recalling your ability to play sports or even walk. It can also play a big role in your social life and this often isn’t in a positive way.

You may wonder how obesity is increasing over the years. First of all the food proportion are quickly getting bigger. Especially in America the seize of a drink isn’t healthy anymore.
Secondly unhealthy food is a lot cheaper than normal food, for example you can get  bag of crisps for just 45 cents and an strawberries can costs 3 euros. This makes it much more attractive to buy a few bag of crisps then you’re in the grocery store instead of a few pieces of fruit.
An increase in physical inactivity due to the nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization are the last factors that play a role in obesity. Those factors have been increasing over the past years and that is way obesity is a growing social problem.
not only he disease itself is a big social problem, but the costs that come with it is also a big issue. If the people with diabetes and heart disease would decrease there will be less charges for all the people.

There are many people involved in this social problem, such as the food producers and the people in developed countries who have access to the enormous amount of unhealthy food. Obesity is a disease that can be prevented, therefore it’s necessary to fight if you can in my opinion. But how are we going to fight it?

If people aren’t able to know for themselves how to live a healthy life they should be helped by the government. I think the best way in which the government can help in fighting obesity is to teach people how to live a healthy life and where can you teach this better than in a school? If we learn children how to live healthy from a young age they will think it’s normal and continue living like that, habitual evolution. Another advantage of teaching this in school is that you will get to every student through compulsory education. This is different than putting up a commercial or campaign, because that will never reach such a big group.
So therefore I believe that teaching children how to live healthy will evolve in a healthier community.

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

Lack of privacy on social media — 23 February 2017

Lack of privacy on social media

We all know that over the past years we have become obsessed by social media. Many people are connected to one or more social media accounts. Everything we do is posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  This is the new way to communicate with others. Most people will only look at the positive sides of social media, but I will acknowledge the negative sides of social networks in this article.

The websites we visit are being registered by the use of cookie, which we of course accept because we don’t want that annoying bar to be in our way. The internet is one of the worst breaches of privacy ever invented. But who is there to blame for our decrease in privacy because of social media and the internet in general? The users for posting their private lives on their accounts and accepting al terms without thinking, or the people who are behind the cookies?

Most of the social media users are not aware of the danger that comes with having an account. You are voluntary placing personal information for example your address, date of birth and work. this content is usually for the benefit of your friends, but what the majority of people doesn’t realises is that this information is open to more people than just your circle of friends.

One reason for this unawareness is that the network sites often enable the settings for your account. Another reason is just the lack of interest. Not everyone is interested in who look at your personal.

Renske van Dokkum, A4d

Positive discrimination in the workplace — 19 January 2017

Positive discrimination in the workplace

We all know discrimination is still a big issue in the world, but ever heard of positive discrimination? It is the opposite of discrimination and whilst that sounds pretty good, it can also lead to the same problems as discrimination does. It happens between people with different origins, believes and gender.

A large part of the representation on company boards exist out of man. Female representation has been an issue in these last couple of years. Positive discrimination is there to make sure that changes. But is it also fair to the working male?

Positive discrimination in the workplace happens a lot these days. Whenever women and men with exactly the same experience and qualification apply for a job, positive discrimination occurs. The female candidates will get employed only to decrease the proportion of men and women working in that position.

Having women working and being positive members of society instead of stereotyping them as house wife of the family who is taking care of the kids is good for a society’s development. Rather than putting women in the traditional role, taking them in board of a company can really help with getting better results. In this way, different points of views and expertise are being considered that might haven’t even been discussed by a boardroom that only consists out of men. A woman analyses things differently than a man would, that’s just the way it is.

Some people find the positive discrimination towards women unfair to men. It isn’t right to rather employ women just because they are the minority. Especially when it means hiring unsuitable people just to create balance between male and female. Positive discrimination can also result in women getting an higher income and better contracts. This last one I find very unfair. People should get paid equally for the equal work they do. I agree with the fact that more should be in boards of companies but it can’t be that a female gets paid better than a men for exactly the same job.

Of course positive discrimination not only happens on the work floor and between men and women. It happens in many more places and between different groups of people. I think there should be a line somewhere in between the fact that women are getting a job quicker than a man would and the fact that women get paid higher for exactly the same work, because that really doesn’t make sense to me.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d