Governments, particularly in the developed countries, are spending huge amount of resources on the social security programs offered to their citizens (Gruber and Wise). These social security programs provide health facilities, income support in case of unemployment, education facilities to the offspring and in some cases, special gifts and bonuses during national festivals etc. The facilities are generally offered to the unemployed, physically disabled due to accidents etc. and senior citizens who have retired from their jobs. History: Human beings have always faced economic uncertainties triggered by war, calamity, famine, physical disability and old age. Different traditions have been developed by human beings since ancient times to deal with the impact of such economic turmoil. The most common and obvious is the stocking of food and resources during the days of high yields so that they can be utilized later when required. The evidence of storage of grain can be found from the archaeological discoveries about Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Indus Valley Civilizations. The Greeks used to stock olive oil which could later be used as a food in tough times and as a currency as well to buy other goods in exchange of the oil. Traditionally, bondage between families has existed that honors the elder members of the family. It puts responsibility on the younger, more energetic members to take care of the needs of those who are in their declining years. Similarly, the concept of charity has existed in human beings since times unknown and in fact is a part of human nature. The institutions of charity as we know them today (hospitals, old age homes etc.) have also existed since the later periods of Roman empires and the Islamic empires of Arabia and Egypt. The rich and affluent segments of society provide financial support for food, health and shelter for the poor especially the old or disabled. This form of social security plays a major role even today in most of the developed and under developed countries. Hence, the traditional means of social security are the concept of charity, the family structure, and the storage resources for future use (US Social Security Administration). The first ever appearance of formal institutions with the objective of providing social security to its members were the trade unions or guilds that appeared in the medieval times. The basic objective of these organizations was to improve the condition of labor through skill development and productivity enhancement (Stephen). However, by time these guilds developed into organizations that provided financial support to its elderly or unemployed members in case of any financial trouble. These societies took more formal form in the USA with proper titles such as Freemasons, Fraternal Order of Eagles etc (US Social Security Administration). As the democratic governments became more powerful in the civilized world, new programs for public welfare found their way in to the government policies. The so-called ‘Poor Laws’ promulgated in England are the first record of legislation which resembles the social security program as we know it today (Sutherland). These laws stated that it was state’s duty to care for the wellbeing of its citizens. They also set forth a taxation mechanism to provide financial support for a welfare program and also defined the eligibility criteria for the beneficiaries of this program. Although
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Introduction: Social security is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a system in which people pay money regularly to the government when they are working and receive payments from the government when they are unable to work, especially when they are sick or too old to work” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)…
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