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Political Perspectives on Social Welfare
Use to study how the political realms affect social policy with definitions!
Social Work
Undergraduate 2

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What is a political perspective or worldview?

Political Perspectives- Social attitudes or ideologies. The five political perspectives are radical (far left), liberal (left), moderate (middle), conservative (right), and Reactionary (far right).


Worldview- The beliefs and values of a group of people that are systematized enough to have a semblance of universality. 

What do political perspectives have to do with social policy?

Political perspectives will tend to influence that type and amount or social policy that will be allowed at a certain time.


EX: When the main political perspective in a nation is conservative many social welfare programs will be cut.

What does Social Policy have to do with social work/or other areas related to human service?
Social Policy much to do with Social Work and the Human Service jobs. Social Policy will dictate how human service workers do their jobs as well as how many resources social workers will be able to offer their clients.
What are the names of the main political perspectives found in today's society and what are their major characteristics and guiding principles?

Main Political Perspectives-

Conservative- Want to keep the current structure and resist change. Thy believe change produces mostly negative consequences. They believe doing things in line with tradition. Conservatives take a pessimistic view of human nature. They believe individuals are self governing; A person is responsible for their own behavior.  conservatives try to perserve the family unit. Conservatives believe society is fair, functions well on its own and is interrelated. Conservatives believe that the free market economy is best and that the government is to support, not regulate, the market.

Liberal- Liberals believe that change is good and it brings progress but Moderate change is best. liberals believe that in human nature people are basically good but they need structure to reinforce good habits and impulses.  Liberals believe that individuals are not all self governing and that environment plays a part in the problems people face. Liberals view family as a changing structure that needs social and governmental support. Liberals believe that society needs regulation to ensure fair competition.  Liberals believe that the government needs to step in to regulate the free market and that government programs are necessary to meet basic human needs.

Radical- radicals believe change is good, especially fundamental change in the system. Radicals believe that in human nature that people are basically good but they can be corrupted by institutions. Radicals believe that individual behavior is strongly influenced by social and economic structures. Radicals believe that the family is oppressive and that the changing family structure needs government support. radicals believe that society has huge inequalities of power of those with and those without, thus it needs changing. Radicals believe that the market economy is exploitive and inherently unfair; alternatives are mixed private and public economy or a socialist system.

Moderates- Moderates are the middle road and moderates believe at looking at each issue individually.

Reactionaries- Reactionaries react against any change what so ever and want less government. It is an extreme version of the conservative perspective.  

What is the moderate political perspective?
Moderate perspective could be thought of as non-perspective. Moderates deny that they have any worldview and say that the judge each issue uniquely and individually.
Which political parties are typically alligned with each perspective political perspective?

Democratic party is typically alligned with the liberal or/and radical political perspective. They are seen as the "left".

Moderate is in the middle and is not alligned with any political perspective. 

Republicans are alligned with the conservative or/and reactionary perspective. They are seen as the "right".

What are the six major isssues on which all the political perspectives differ and how do they differ in approaches to solving these issues?

The six issues are, (1) the attitudes toward change, (2) Views of human nature, (3) Views on individual behavior, (4) Views of the family, (5) Views of the social system, and (6) Views of the government and economic systems.

Liberals approach these problems by looking for change but not changing the fundamental structure of the system.

 Radicals want to change the fundamental structure which will allow for greater change.

Conservatives want to keep the current system with as little change as possible.

 Reactionaries want to keep the current system and make every thing become more privatized. 

What is the most fundamental difference among liberals, conservatives, radicals, and reactionaries?

The most fundamental difference between the political perspectives is how to deal with the problems at hand.


EX: Liberals want to add more government programs to prevent poverty.

Which political perspective do most (not party) do do most Americans identify themselves as?
As of 2004 (the most recent census I could find) most Americans identified themselves as Conservative.
What is meant by income distribution? How has income distribution been handled in America historically?

Income Distribution-Government's taking income from one group by means of taxes and giving it to another group in the form of cash benefits (such a SS) or some other benefit (such as foodstamps).


History- Before the great depression in 1929 the government spent next to nothing on distribution programs. That changed when Roosevelt took office and start the "New Deal".

What are the major components of the Capitalist-Puritan (CP) value system by Keith Lucas and with which political perspective is the system generally associated?

The Capitalist-Puritan (CP) value system's six components are...

1. People are responsible for their own success.

2. Human nature is evil but can be overcome by an act of will.

3. A person's primary purpose is the acquisition of material prosperity, which is achieved through hard work.

4. The primary purpose of society is to maintain law and order so that this acquisition is possible.

5. The unsuccessful or deviant person is not deserving of help, although efforts should be made, up to a point, to rehabilitate or spur the person to greater efforts on his/her own behalf.

6. The primary incentives to change are to be found in economic or physical rewards and punishments.

The political perspective most associated with the Capitalist-Puritan (CP) vale system is the conservative perspective.

What are the major components of the Humanist-Positivist-Utopian (HPU) value system created by Keith-Lucas and what political perspective is this system generally associated with? 

The five components of the Humanist-Positivist-Utopian (HPU) value system are...

1. The primary purpose of society is to fulfill people's material and emotional needs.

2. If people's needs were fulfilled, then they would obtain a state  that is variously described, according to the vocabulary used by specific HPU system, as that of goodness, maturity, adjustment, or productivity, in which most individual and social problems would be solved.

3. What hampers people from attaining this state is the impact of external circumstances that are not generally under people's individual control. Various HPU systems cite lack of education, economic circumstances, childhood relationships, and the social environment.

4. These circumstances are subject to manipulation by those who possess sufficient technical and scientific knowledge and who use, in general, what is known as the "scientific method".

5. Consequently, individuals and society are ultimately perfectible.

The political perspective that is commonly associated with the Humanist-Positivist-Utopian value system are liberals.  

What are the major components of the Judeo-Christian value system by Keith-Lucas and how does it interact with the political perspectives?

The six components of the Judeo-Christian value system are...

1. People are created beings; one of their major problems is they act as if they were not and try to be autonomous.

2. People are fallible but at the same time capable of acts of great courage or unselfishness.

3. The difference between individuals in terms of good and bad is insignificant compared with the standard demanded by their creator; as a consequence, a person cannot judge others in such terms.

4. People's greatest good lies in terms of their relationships with others and with their creator.

5. People are capable of choice, in the "active and willing" sense, but may need help in making this choice.

6. Love is always the ultimate victor over force.

The Judeo-Christian value system interacts with the political perspectives by being "behind yet parallel with the other two value systems" both liberals and conservatives agree with some part of the Judeo-Christian value system.

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