Towards a New Social Contract. The Personal Care Services and the Contractual Relations with Firms
In modern economies, the continuous growth of living standards has generated an increasing role of service activities in place of manufacturing ones. This emerging demand for services is trying to meet a new generation of economic policies that, in line with the conceptual re-thinking of «healthcare» and «human being», reinforces in several ways the demand and the supply of this type of services for individuals and workers in public/private enterprises. These activities, better known as personal care services, are mostly characterized by the contribution, even on a voluntary basis, of care, socialization and relationship building in the field of health and social services. They consist of a very heterogeneous set, ranging from transport to retail, donation and healthcare services, broadly defined, as well. Such a heterogeneity does not concern uniquely the social service itself, but also involves the structure of markets, the production patterns and new economic policies. As a matter of fact, generalization is out of reach and comparisons are mostly jeopardized. This automatically implies, in a sense, to rewrite the Social Contract among the citizens, to identify better rules to improve and maintain the social order, given a higher welfare basis. These «new» contractual relations might respond to the need for a different patterns for social services, characterized by the interaction between public interventions and the direct participation of private actors like families, volunteering and firms. The idea is to promote interventions that mobilize resources from diverse backgrounds enhancing the role of the beneficiaries in a closer and stronger private-public cooperation.
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