Welfare systems in OECD countries have been under increasing pressure to enhance the efficiency of public services and to align social spending with available resources. To reconcile the costs of social programmes with budgetary constraints, two well-known but unpopular options are available: increase in direct or indirect taxation, or/and cuts in social benefits in absolute or relative terms, as compared to economic trends. There are only rare examples, in recent years, of across the board cuts in public spending: Netherlands did for disability and unemployment benefits between 1983 and 1987, and Ireland and Belgium for unemployment benefits in 1983 and 1987, respectively. Most other countries have achieved similar results through indirect means such as restricting entitlements to benefits, as in many southern European countries but also in Belgium and Denmark. Since the mid 1980s, efforts to curb social expenditure have been common in all western market economies in the ECE region and included the reorganization of state-provided services, stricter controls on public expenditure, privatization and the introduction of market mechanisms.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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