People and Society, Social Services
collective farms, family network, economic reforms, Communism, social needs
Before the Communist era, the government relied on the family network to care for the sick and elderly and to provide other social benefits to family members. Under Communism, the state assumed responsibility for some of these benefits through collective farms and state-run industries that provided for the care and welfare of their employees. After the economic reforms of 1986, which essentially dismantled collective farms, farmers were expected to provide their own savings to cover the expenses of illness or retirement. People in the emerging private sector had to do the same.
Although the government has reduced benefits in certain areas, it still lacks the resources to deal with many of the other social needs of the population. As much as one-third of the workforce in rural areas is underemployed, and an estimated one-half of the rural population lives in poverty. At the same time, the availability of health care is declining.
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