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Financial crisis swept away Asia about a decade ago. The subsequent debates on the Asian welfare policies have examined the impacts of globalization on Asian welfare regimes. After a number of studies on the short-term effects of economic crisis, we are able to discern more long-term effects on current nature of welfare regimes and their future directions of changes. In this paper, we compare continuous trends and changes in labor market and social policy reforms across Korea and Japan since late 1990s. We focus on how economic policies and welfare policies interact with each other, which can promote divergence and a possibility of different welfare regimes for these countries.

Most East Asian countries employed social policies as effective instruments for the economic recovery, in particular, their labor markets. These countries also developed social insurance, which strengthens a link between labor market and welfare regime. Thus, we focus on how globalization affected each country's labor market, albeit at slightly different time periods, and how governments developed both labor market and welfare policies to cope with such problems. Finally, we will compare each country based on the interaction between labor market policies and welfare policies as a package. In conclusion, we will argue that the economic and social pressure of globalization makes it difficult to separate labor markets and welfare regimes. Thus, the present cases will provide a starting point to broaden our welfare regime typology to include labor market policies.

The recent financial tsunami has caused thousands of factories in China to collapse, and tens of millions of migrant workers to lose their jobs. It is estimated that at least 10% of the rural migrant workers are unemployed since the Chinese New Year holidays this year. Many still stay in urban areas aiming for job opportunities, though the chances are slim. The impacts on their livelihoods and employment conditions gradually become serious social issues in China today. The authors had conducted a field trip to Pearl River Delta Area of Guangdong Province in March 2009 to study about these impacts. Through our visits to the social service agencies, the rural migrant workers, and academics researching on this topic, we understand more deeply about the impacts of the financial tsunami on migrant workers, and the responses of social service agencies providing services to them. In this paper, we will make use of the primary data we obtained from the field trip and also second data to study three main themes of the topic: 1) the impacts of the deteriorating economy on injury compensations for the migrant workers; 2) the issue of underpayment and violation of labor contract law; and 3) changes in the education opportunities for the workers' children in the host cities.

Full paper: lee_wong_2009_migrant_worker.pdf

Presentation slides: lee_wong_2009_migrant_worker_slides.pdf

The last major international financial tsunami, starting in 1929, led to a decade of world-wide economic depression, mass unemployment and political instability culminating in a world war. One of the major factors that could lead to international political instability in the present crisis is the threat of economic protectionism by the major trading countries. Already the American government is introducing 'buy American' clauses in its policies which is causing concern to the People's Republic of China..

Central to the threat of international instability is national stability, political, economic and social. And our wellbeing and quality of life and major determinants of national stability. Mass homelessness, unemployment, poverty and a sense of hopelessness were endemic in the 1930s. It is social policy which can address these quality of life issues. This paper deals with the implications for the relationship between quality of life, wellbeing, and social policy of the contemporary tumultuous financial catastrophes

The first part of the paper defines quality of life and social policy and then explores the relationship between them using Titmuss's seminal construct of the social division of welfare, retitled the social division of quality of life. This is followed by a brief exploration of the extent and consequences of the financial tsunami for quality of life.

The paper finishes with an analysis of the implications of the financial crisis for social policy and for quality of life. The conclusions are rather bleak in material terms but it is also argued that the contemporary financial crisis provides an opportunity for us - both as individuals and as nations - to reconsider the balance between material and non-material aspects of wellbeing and quality of life.

Finally, in an appendix, some potential indicators of quality of life a re suggested.