This modest volume results from an international working meeting devoted to the analysis and design of the contents and tasks of the research project, recently undertaken at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), devoted to the problems of social security reform (SSR).The meeting, hosted by the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw in September 1997, was organized and run by the Systems Research Institute in collaboration with IIASA. It is by no means incidental that the workshop related to this Project took place in Poland. Poland is one of IIASA's member countries which are undertaking a complete and thorough reform of its social security system. The reform has just begun, and the current debate continues in a very lively manner. Decisions must be made relatively soon. On the other hand, Poland can also offer a lot in terms of experience to date, the solutions devised and proposed, and the variety of know-how. At the same time, the reform of the social security systems forms a problem domain of truly universal and global dimensions, if we account for the expanding reach of the capital markets. Thus, experience of other nations, the knowledge gathered in various centres, and the different ideas generated ought to be exchanged and compared to produce viable solutions and the methods to define and assess them. This is exactly the role for IIASA, and the meeting in Warsaw was meant to be one of the preparatory steps to fulfilling these objectives of IIASA's research. The volume contains the full papers, or in some cases the summaries of the presentations made at the workshops, as well as the short texts of the interventions from the panel discussion. In can easily be seen from the contents that the variety of both the views and the national as well as scientific backgrounds of those participating constituted a strong point of the meeting ang the exchange of opinions there. Although a true synthesis is perhaps beyond our present capacity, all possible efforts should be made to account for the existing theoretical knowledge and technical approaches, and to bring them together in an effective way. Another important feature of the meeting was the in-depth presentation of the problems pertaining to SSR in Poland. It is against this presentation that many issues with respect to actual questions and data could be discussed at length. The volume ends with a summary report from the meeting, containing the most important observations made and conclusions drawn from the discussions at the workshop.
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