It is often said that an affluent society is best judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. This honourable barometer tends to bring to mind notions of charity and generosity rather than a contemplation of the broader social benefits of investing in the underprivileged. When in fact, expenditure directed towards the disadvantaged has far-reaching economic and social returns that often go unconsidered.
Funding for addressing disadvantage is too often placed in the basket of ‘social programs’, which gives the community the erroneous impression that it has nothing to do with the economy. However, as proponents of the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme will tell you: it’s not about philanthropy, it’s about investing in people through empowerment and participation.