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Abstract

A non-Western comparative model, totalitarianism, has conventionally been employed to describe qualitative differences between the United States on one hand, and the nations of the Communist world on the other. This paper explores welfare-related aspects of Communist (USSR) - Western (US) differences: First, the quantity of welfare and second, the mode of welfare distribution. In measuring the volume of welfare as the proportion of the state welfare expenses to the GNP or NMP respectively, the Russian proportion from 1958 (USSR l8.S8,, U.S. 10.6%) until the latest available comparative figures (USSR 23- 24%, US 15.2%) remains substantially greater. In terms of welfare distribution, the Russian emphasis on distributing welfare services to a broad catagory of citizens without regard to need, that is, the subtle distribution of welfare, has markedly different social consequences than the American emphasis, usually demanding the eligibility of the client. American-style distribution produces a never-ending process of stigma and fraud, and contributes to the break-up of the family. Finally, it produces the silent suffering of the poor since, with all of the programs available in America, there are more 'below-poverty line' families in the U.S. that receive neither food stamps, public housing, or social assistance as there are poor that do receive these services.

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