The welfare state is under great pressure. The extensive budget cuts make local governments and care institutions virtually incapable of providing the increasing need for support. Furthermore, changing demographics poses a huge challenge for the coming decades: an ageing population implies an increased financial burden. This means in the long run governments will no longer be able to afford extensive social security plans, let alone the growing healthcare costs.
New tools for co-delivering public services
Social currencies help create networks of mutual support in the social and informal care domains as a supplement to formal care. These programmes encourage and reward people to become active in their community to support the needy. Advantages of social currencies are multiple: they reduce costs and workload of professional care providers; they decrease the burden on the close group of family members that regularly assist a needy person; and they offer municipalities an instrument to co-deliver their services at a reasonable cost. These programmes are not depending on government budgets but create a new social economy, not affected by economic boom-bust cycles.
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