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Welfare is generally defined as a state of wellbeing, either economically, socially or health wise, i.e. citizen entitlement to these services. Therefore a country that is able to meet its citizens’ basic welfare and more, is highly graded and considered powerful. The major sectors to look out for in the welfare systems are; health, education system, mobility (movement of people and information), security, employment and its security, social care and provision of social amenities & government systems. All the three countries are doing well in the provision of welfare to the people. However there are small notable differences between them.
In the U.S, most parents, especially the rich, prefer to take their children to private schools which are considered better than public schools in terms of teaching, payment of staff and the overall performance, whereas in Germany, public schools are more preferred and it’s not common to hear about private schooling. This is almost same in Japan where there is compulsory training which is done publicly and is attended by all. Mostly, U.S prefers home schooling unlike in Germany and Japan where it is unheard of to home school a child. Teachers in Germany also take longer time for training to be completed and when this is done, they are recognized as professionals and hence well paid and respected unlike in the U.S where teaching courses takes shorter periods and teachers are taken casually and not paid well. Japan is largely homogeneous and tend to take identity from their families, schools and home, hence the schools one attend is highly important as it defines ones identity. This encourages students to learn in friendlier environments and in turn have high level of academic achievement as compared to the other two countries. Japan also has a universal primary education that is compulsory to all.
Healthcare systems in the three countries are up to standard. Germany offers the best health insurance plan followed by Japan then the U.S. This is more so because Germany offers insurance premiums to both the employed and the unemployed, with different plans, same to Japan, but in the U.S, employers pay for their employees while the unemployed and self employed pay for themselves. Coverage does not include drugs and dental, and patients cannot choose for themselves the doctors or hospitals to go to, while in Germany, there are no restrictions. Movement either physically or economically are so prevalent in the U.S compared to Germany and Japan.
The right amount of welfare a country should have depends on a number of factors like the population density, economy, cost of living, development of the country, e.t.c. A country that is said to have a right amount of welfare is one that is able to meet the most basic needs of its citizen like healthcare, education and communication. All the three countries clearly show they are above the rest in these and more, like technology (Goldstein & Pevehouse, 2008).
Democratic deficit in regard to European Union
European Union is an international organization consisting of member states from Europe, and whose main functions were to empower members politically and economically, and to improve trade between them through open markets.
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Democratic deficit occurs when component bodies fail to achieve democracy in their operations leading to lack of legitimacy, accountability, accessibility and equality to citizens. This reduces respect for authority and hence their overall effectiveness reduces. Democratic deficit shows a weakness within the governing council of EU. To amend these deficits, several amendments and regulations were put in place. An example of these are; co-decision making between the national parliaments and council of members, this will aid in forming unified policies that address citizens’ issues. To aid citizen accessibility, it was proposed that all the “council” meetings be held in public and draft legislation to be distributed to member parliaments from the commission. A new citizen right of initiative was also enacted.
Over the years, there has been a decline in the voter turnout in the EU elections. This is a warning sign for an increasing lack of confidence in the institution by citizens and member states. Lack of awareness is also a factor that contributes to this decline. Citizens do not know direction Europe is taking, and they seem unaware of what is to change after the elections. These elections also bring about a drift between countries i.e., there is an increasing decline in the interest of central and eastern European new member countries. Elections are also done for national issues which tended to distance Brussels and the National capitals.
Among all the reforms that are put in place to improve the situation at the European Union, Transparency in all executive actions is paramount. This will strengthen the waning trust. Judicial Review is also necessary to ensure free and fair elections. A qualified voting system and unanimity is also a sure way of encouraging citizens to vote as is instills confidence. Lastly, a clear and fair consensus that brings all the member states together, and encourage cooperation among them in order to achieve their goals and to bring equality should be implemented.
Japanese spirits, Western Thinks
The book, by Tamy Watson summarizes the long outstanding relationship between Japan and America. America requests Japan to open market trading, Japan took over most of Americas businesses and adopted America’s lifestyle during this time. The 1st world war marked Japan’s start point with modernization. Industrialization, urbanization, economic empowerment, mass communication, education and all the other components for urbanization are highlighted to illustrate Japans improvement.
He shows ways in which Japan has achieved the requirements for Modernization, the first being Industrialization. Japan’s individualism is unlike America’s. In Japan an individual is taken within a society and treated as part of it, unlike in America where an individual is in that sense a single person and is not so connected to the existing society, i.e., a person’s actions only affects him and the society has no accountability whatsoever. This way, Japan shown that they could achieve modernization without embracing western cultures. Japan is also the first Asian country to be industrialized with the use of their own unified currency unlike most countries which used the American dollar. Banking and stock exchange systems were also put in place with no reliance on America‘s aid. There is also a distinctive occupational structure in japan. Occupations are fairly distributed in relation to skill level, qualification, social status and economic level. Bureaucracy (the hierarchical ranking within an organization) maintains accountability and administrative responsibility within workers. This enabled Japan to obtain specialization and excellence within its work environment. Japan has put in place a Universal Primary education and other compulsory training opportunities that help it achieve the mass education requirement for modernization. Mass communication, which refers to ways in which citizens communicate to each other and to the rest of the world are better, placed.
Japan, being a homogeneous country placed more emphasis on kindness, humility, brotherhood and accountability for all, and this did not change even after modernization. They did not have to embrace western cultures in their quest for modernization. Instead, they achieved this and at the same time maintained their cultures and way of life (Griffiths & Roach, 2008).
In my view, modernization in Japan has been quite successful. This is because it clearly shown that it met all the requirements for modernization and more, and now it’s able to meet the needs of its citizens. There is a considerable low unemployment level in Japan as compared to America and technology awareness and use is high. However, there are events that might affect further cooperation between Japan and America. Japan no longer receives aid form America and the armed attack on Japan could also impede further cooperation with America. Japan is rapidly and expansively growing both technologically and economically while America is receding. This is mainly shown by the recent Global recession that hardly hit America and mass unemployment that was unwitnessed in Japan. America’s involvement with Iraq-Iran war is also an unforeseen factor as America continues to gain enemity with more countries. America’s Embassies over the world are targets for bombings and such calamities like the September 11. Before the most recent president was elected, there was also a threat of administration as it was considered authoritarian. These events could affect future cooperation because as seen in Japan’s recent operation it plays safe and is concerned with security both for the state’s operations and citizens.
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