Work, Welfare, and the New Economy
The so-called New Economy, based on huge advances in information and communication technologies, economic globalization and neoliberalism, promised to expand economic opportunities and growth, provide stimulating and well-paid jobs, reduce inequalities and develop the Third World. But the experiences of the past two decades have hardly been positive for workers and their families. While there have been significant economic and workplace changes, these changes have not been the boon to working people that was predicted. In fact, as the authors of this book show, there is significant unemployment and underemployment, including for knowledge workers. Management strategies continue to be authoritarian, and work presents new dangers to our health. Meanwhile, social services have been ripped apart. “New Economy” is simply the name being given to current attempts to reboot a very old and exploitative economic system. However, there are signs a truly new economy is possible, as trade unions, working people and progressive social movements continue the struggle for social justice.
Globalization and the Casual Labour Problem in Canada
More and more people in Canada and other Western countries are now working at part-time, short-term and other casual jobs. People are now asking: What happened to full-time employment? Why is part-time work being promoted by business people and politicians as a positive thing? Situated historically, the restructuring of global capital and labour markets does not paint such a rosy picture. This book explains the contemporary casualization of work as integral to global economic restructuring. Hence, the increase in casual work is not simply a reflex of the expansion of the service sector, or of women’s post-second world war re-entry into paid employment, but is tied to a business agenda aimed at improving corporate profitability and controlling labour. A discussion of more democratic alternatives to the hollow society concludes the book.
Social Policy in a Market Society
Social policy is about citizens choosing the kind of society they want to live in. The mid-20th Century Keynesian welfare state can be seen as a citizenship package which included acceptance of intervention by the state to maintain economic growth and social stability, that meant the inclusion of many previously excluded groups in the social policy process and the institutionalization of a collective responsibility for individual welfare. But, with the ascendancy of neo-liberalism, the politics of citizenship is being replaced by a notion of citizens as consumers, whose medium of social interaction and source of economic and social security is the capitalist market.