Comparing Global Welfare Politics

On this episode of BTH we will be comparing social welfare policy between a few select Latin American countries to that of the North American model, specifically Canada. We will look at how their alternative welfare distribution methods relate to the broader discussion of reducing poverty, domestic politics, reducing regional disparity within indigenous communities, and how these payments affect the social realities of gendered identity within female heads of the household; single mother or otherwise. We will discuss the alternative methods themselves, outlining successful Conditional Cash Transfer programs like; Oppurtundaties, Prospera, and Bolsa and their effectiveness in mexico, brazil, Ecuador and Chile. After taking the programs themselves into consideration we will discuss the viability of such alternative welfare methodology in the Canadian context. With Conditional Cash Transfers occupying an ambiguous political terrain, fully embraced by neither the left nor the right of the spectrum, they can be seen as a compromise in political environments plagued by a major ideological split. With the contemporary political environment in North America and the traditionally divisive nature of conventional welfare methodology here in Canada we will explore the viability of such a politically ‘inclusive’ program here. To help us tackle these massive and interdisciplinary questions, we will be joined by leading figures in the field

Dr. Anahely Medrano is a very well known and frequently publishing academic from Mexico City that recently completed a piece entitled, “CCTs for Female Heads of Households and Market Citizenship at State-Level in Mexico”. Which looks at how Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) have become key anti-poverty reduction strategies in Latin America. There are different types of CCTs implemented at the national and sub-national level in this region. This paper analyses the design of CCT programmes directed to assist female heads of households at the state level in Mexico. To do so, this study applies an analytical framework to make a comparative study of the key features of the design, looking specifically at the way the target population is constructed as welfare recipients and citizens. The results of this qualitative study suggest that, irrespective of the purposes of these social programmes, the design reflects certain values and normative beliefs related to the notion of market citizenship, which also seem to intersect with certain ideas about motherhood and the poor in Mexico. [Interview at 3.18]

“The short- term goal is to mitigate problems resulting from poverty, and the long- term goal is to invest in human capital.” – Dr. Pascal Lupien

Dr. Pascal Lupien is a frequently published political scientist and teaches social science and methods courses in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program at the University of Guelph. Dr. Lupien’s primary research interests revolve around democratic governance, civil society, the impact of public participation on policy and the factors that enhance or diminish the capacity of social movement groups to engage in effective interest representation. His previous research examined the impact of indigenous social movements on integrating indigenous rights into the constitutional reform process in Bolivia and Ecuador.  His upcoming book, Citizens’ Power in Latin America: Theory and Practice, looks at how local communities in Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile use participatory democracy mechanisms to pursue collective social development goals. His current project considers the impact of information and communications technologies (ICTs) on the capacity of indigenous civil society groups to represent and pursue the interests of their constituents and how indigenous organizations can most effectively use ICTs to advance the social and economic development goals of their communities.[Interview at 21.30]

“The relationship of the Krenak people and the State is very specific right now. It is all based in the idea that there is a recovery going on.” – Sarain Carson-Fox

Sarain Carson-Fox is an Ashnabee activist, journalist, and host of Viceland’s RISE. She spends time advocating for and with indigenous populations around the world. [Interview at 40.27]



Dimitri Treheles, Host, Junior Producer
Jonah Kotzer, Technical Producer
Ian T. D.  Thomson, Technical Producer
Leanna Mora, Executive Producer

Music Credits
by Fifth Harmony
The World is Yours
by Badbadnotgood
by Trivvs
Strange Bouquet
by Sahara


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