Social Insurance in Europe, by Joseph Clasen

This book summarises the main arguments about and highlights the lessons to be learnt from European experiences of social insurance and social security as a whole. It is an excellent and comprehensive text, which explores modern pressures on the social insurance model. Clasen, whilst doubting whether social insurance schemes will be replaced by some type of basic or citizen’s income, calls nevertheless for existing systems to be reformed to allow for the inclusion of groups currently not participating in insured employment. Angus Erskine, author of the chapter on Britain, notes that new forms of provision for income security through a basic income are central to radical proposals for reform that cut across the political spectrum. The simple attraction of a basic income scheme is acknowledged, although concerns are expressed about housing costs and premiums for those in receipt of disability benefits. (Policy Press, 1997, 291 pp, paperback, ISBN 1 86134 0, price £16.95.)