This paper discusses the current trends in social policy in developing countries against a historical overview of public welfare provision in developed capitalist countries. This historical overview makes observations which are of significance for the assessment of the choices made among alternative ways of defining policy objectives, strategies and instruments in the realm of social policy. On the basis of these observations, the paper approaches social policy development as an outcome of the emergence and the expansion of the market economy. It then shows that social policy intervention might be transformative in its impact on labour market relations, but it could also support and sustain market expansion. In a parallel vein, it is argued that systems of social protection might be shaped by the ideal of equal citizenship, but they might also be compatible with forms of inequality engendered by market processes or the character of social relations.
Ayşe Bugra is Professor of Political Economy at Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History and the co-founder of Social Policy Forum of Boğaziçi University in İstanbul.