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Improvements in Anti-Poverty Programs : A Study of Poverty Alleviation and Government Initiatives in Korea

페이스북
커버이미지
  • 저자 권순원(權純源)
  • 발행일 1993/12/01
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요약 During the past three decades Korea has made enormous
economic progress. This progress can be seen most clearly in
the rising trend for per capita income and consumption. In this
period, the number of the poor declined sharply due to the rapid
expansion in employment opportunities as well as the
improvements in income distribution. The introuduction of some
branches of the social security system accelerated this tendency.
The government developed the social safety net further in the
1980s, and poverty has been alleviated continually.

Among others, one noteworthy problem confronting Korea
today is the increasingly pervasive feeling that Korea's economic
success and the increasing affluence of majority Koreans are
founded on sacrifice by less fortunate people, especially poor
people. One criticism is that attention to social welfare has not
been commensurate with Korea's economic advances. The level
of benefits provided under the public assistance program is still
far from adequate, and social services are not well targeted to
all of the needy people.

When discussing what can or should be done for the poor
in coming years, it is important to consider the general economic
situation at present and in the future. We are living in an era of
world-wide economic war and globalization is becoming reality
as the Uruguay Round has come to the end. We expect that
nobody can survive without international competitiveness. The
mandatory message is that we ought to use our scarce
resources cost-effectively. In this context, it is highly desirable
to revitalize the ability of economically disadvantaged persons to
help them survive under the situation of violent international
economic competition.

Growth strategies based on the 'trickle down' approach have
not been very successful in breaking effectively the vicious
circle of poverty, although trickle down does help the working
poor. Moreover, the evidence in this report clearly suggests that
the major causes of poverty have not been addressed well by
social policy in the case of Korea. Therefore, mechanisms based
on a balance between growth and equity with the popular
participation of the beneficiaries, the poor, in the development
process should be stressed. In line with this, anti-poverty
programs with human development inputs such as education,
health, and shelter, etc. should be formulated.

The knowledge gained on the causes of the insufficiency of
the demand for and supply of social for the [poor, will provide
some new insights into formulating an effective strategy to
improve the quality and quantity of social services received by
the poor.

As the sind of democracy has swept across the country,
increasing attention should be paid to the welfare of the
underprivileged. The increasing attention in the future should in
time be translated into a change in the allocation of the nations'
resources in favor of the social welfare of the people, particularly
poor people.

One of the most effective strategies recommended widely to
break the vicious circle is to improve the formation of human
capital among the poor. And an effective way of improving the
human capital of poor individual is to improve has health and
education level.

Korea needs a full scale policy framework on poverty at the
national level and action programs at the local level. Both should
have a major impact on improving the situation of the poorest
segments of the population. For those people who have the
ability to work, anti-poverty programs should focus on the
creation of more employment opportunities and the improvement
of the marketability of poor people in the labor market through
vocational training and job placement services. The government
should target subsidies to the non-working, poorest segments of
the population through various public assistance progrmas.
Targeting is a process designed to keep the poorest people
under protection.

The mechanisms used in the formulation of anti-poverty
policies include reforms in education and schooling, health and
nutrition, low-income housing and social security.
Decentralization allows for increased efficiency in the sue of
scarce resources. Further decentralization and additional
efficiency is attained by inducing the private sector to take over
various economic cooperation activities hat help reduce poverty
at the community level. Based on past experiences in alleviating
poverty, we set up a Korean model of poverty alleviation by
taking lessons form experiences in the war against poverty in
advanced countries and in so doing, hope to provide an example
to other fellow developing countries

It should be stressed that poverty is something that can be
reduced gradually. This study provides a basic report on
discussions of poverty issues and anti-poverty programs for
Korea, without much attention paid ti the sectoral issues such 몬
education, health, housing policies, and specified poor groups
such as children, women, elderlies, the disabled, etc. These
issues need in-depth studies in the future, along with
socio-cultural issues including how to encourage effectively the
ppor to participate in growth.
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