A Social Welfare Program : Never All-encompassing

Not so Good

Never the Lot

A social welfare program is generally not what governments do best. This does not mean that the needs in this area are not great. In any country the areas of concern are usually numerous and diverse. The number of people requiring services are often many. Any social welfare program is expensive and almost no part of any plan creates revenue. It is big expenditure item for very little return in the way of votes or popularity. Governments tend to act only when a crisis occurs or when their retention of power is threatened. This can occur anywhere in the world. The race riots in Liverpool (1981)and Brixton (1985) in the United Kingdom, the civil unrest in Northern Ireland (1968 - 1998), and the many racial incidents in major cities in the U.S.A. (2,500 since 2009) are examples of how much things can quickly escalate. 

The items mentioned here probably cover a wider field than any government sees as its responsibility and some might be better thought of as the concern of other parts of the administration but this is not a philosophical treatise. They are things which contribute to the well being of a retiree, often indirectly, but which may not be well addressed by the government. They will each probably not be decisive in making a decision about the possibility of residency but cumulatively they could tip the balance.


Education for All

Education is compulsory in most First World countries but not in all Third World places. Providing education is expensive. This may not be of significant personal importance to retirees. The general level of competence in the basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills of the population will be reflected in the quality of service offered by both private enterprise and the government departments. Tolerance of any inefficiencies in such things is a personal matter. How this may affect you can be judged on any "Golden Rule" (make no irrevocable move unless you have visited the country at least once) trip to the country.

Discounts and Visas

and for Retirees?

Many countries which welcome retirees offer visas which are easy to negotiate and favorable concessions on the purchase of both necessities and entertainments. Without the population having had a good basic education these things may not translate into practical action. For the retiree with a limited income long delays at the government level and a lack of delivery of often much vaunted concessions are definite signs of difficulties to come. There might have to be other very compelling reasons to persist with an application for a residence visas for such countries.

Race and Culture

"Multi Man"

Most countries are multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural. Unless there are specific government social welfare programs to encourage understanding between the various groups then social unrest could be just an insult, a gesture or a small, careless physical encounter away. Such things can easily happen in large gatherings where excitement is high at, say, sporting events. Feelings can be ethnically, racially or culturally based at such events. No-one, especially not a retiree, wants to turn a corner and be in the middle of a race riot. Sometimes tense feelings are always close to the surface. A sensitivity to this can develop during a "Golden Rule" visit particularly on a second or third trip.

Healthcare and Other Utilities

Insurance Sir?

The healthcare system in most countries to which you are likely to retire will not be as comprehensive nor offer universal cover as do those systems in, say, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. The social welfare program in any Third World country will be tailored to whatever the local population can afford. This does not mean that good and advanced medical care will not be available. It just means that the government will not be funding it. The services provided should be investigated because this will indicate the extent to which the government is able to raise revenue and spend it wisely. In some countries the often inexpensive system is available to non-citizens. If better care is needed then it will be necessary to obtain health insurance.

Water and Power

Allied to the healthcare system is the provision of electricity and clean water. It is not uncommon to find that drinking quality water needs to be bought but there should be a mains supply. Electricity should also be reliable. Supply via fossil fueled power stations is not a good sign but hydro-electric schemes and other sources based on renewable energy such as solar or wind power suggests that the government takes its social welfare responsibilities seriously. Upon a good mains electrical system providing three pin earthed supply to residences depends the electronic communication facilities. It is on the internet and the telephone that many retirees will rely for contact with friends and businesses overseas.

The Social Welfare Program in General

An Enduring Concern

Many areas of government responsibility are touched upon by a social welfare program. In addition to those mentioned above other areas might include the preparedness for natural disaster relief, the provision of basic locally grown food supplies and support for local art and culture. Adequate attention to all of these matters can ensure a happy local population and a group in which a retiree might be happy to reside with comfort and confidence. The value of a "Golden Rule" visit or two becomes clear very quickly.

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