Welfare reform and the ‘Third Way’ politics of New Labour and the New Democrats
commitments to social justice, because labour force
attachment strategies reinforce labour market divisions, especially
for the low-paid. 20 In the UK, the USA and elsewhere, the
‘welfare state’ is giving way to the ‘workfare
state’. Any possibility of the Labour Government delivering on
the traditional objectives of the Left has been lost.
Is ‘work first’ making it
strategies adopted and the institutional background at work. Indeed, Chapter 4 will suggest that ‘old’ social democracy is far from dead, precisely because there is far more heterogeneity
than accounts of the investment state, or the competition state, or the
workfare state, or whatever, normally allow for. Even so, I neither want
to underestimate the degree of state convergence that globalisation
implies and the ‘security state’ is a working hypothesis that I apply to the
UK and USA, two countries in which the NSD has arguably been most
influential. Second, however, this
. In conclusion, Green-Pedersen et al . 89 stated that the
policy elements in the Netherlands closely match those outlined in
the Blair–Schröder document. To some extent, the
Netherlands has been practising the ‘Third Way’ for some
Finally, Sweden has long been at the forefront of
left-of-centre thinking in labour market policy: ‘workfare
employment constituted the main campaign issue was unable to
avert defeat, handing over power to a resurgent centre-right coalition, the
‘Alliance for Sweden’.
The new government was soon marred by controversy, and the initial
honeymoon usually afforded by voters to incumbent governments vanished. The government’s main problem has been its welfare reform programme, not least its changes in the unemployment insurance scheme.
Adopting a workfare approach to welfare and claiming to defend the
welfare state, the government maintains that its reforms merely aim at
there has always been
some expectation that benefit claimants will work, hence the principle of social insurance. The distinction has become popular to disguise the fact that what is now called active welfare is little more than
a synonym for workfare policies that often coerce and punish the
victim. Economic efficacy is now supposedly gained by reforming the
worker rather than reforming the market.
The idea that the Old Left ignored the importance of duties is another
caricature (Deacon, 2000: 15). In fact, the NSD merely updates the
principle of ‘less eligibility
substantial continuities between the nineteenth-century
minimalist state and the post-Victorian ‘penal–welfare’ state. He underlines the extent to which eugenics inspired the modern system of social
security, so that the latter is the institutional embodiment of the genetic
endowments we are assumed to possess. According to this interpretation,
social policy prods the genetically unfit into labour colonies, workfare and
social assistance schemes (King, 1999) and designs labour exchanges and
social insurance systems for the genetically fit.
Taken individually, none of the
leading Conservatives were again prepared to look across the Atlantic.
Iain Duncan Smith visited the US in early December 2001. His engagements
included a meeting with George Pataki, governor of New York state. On his
return, Duncan Smith commended Pataki’s efforts in reforming welfare provision
through workfare whereby recipients work in return for public assistance. He
also paid tribute to the Republican Party’s presidential campaign:
Yet Bush turned the Clinton–Blair tide and a center right renaissance now
crackles through the autumnal air in Washington. He did it by
forms of uneven development’, European
Urban and Regional Studies, 10:1, 49–67.
Jessop, B. (2004), Towards a Schumpetarian Workfare State? Preliminary Remarks on Post-Fordist
Political Economy (Lancaster: University of Lancaster, originally 1993).
Jessop, B. (2013), ‘Revisiting the regulation approach: Critical reflections on the contradictions, dilemmas, fixes and crisis dynamics of growth regimes’, Capital and Class,
Kristensen, P. H., and Rocha, R. S. (2012), ‘New roles for the trade unions five lines of
action for carving out a new governance regime
) ‘From the Keynesian welfare to the Schumpeterian workfare state’,
Lancaster Regionalism Group, Working Paper 45, University of Lancaster.
Kölbe, T. (1987) ‘Trade unionists, party activists and politicians: the struggle
for power over party rules in the Labour Party and the West German SPD’,
Comparative Politics, 19 (4).
Lafontaine, O. and Schröder, G. (1998) (eds), Innovation für Deutschland (Göttingen:
Lafontaine, O. (1998) untitled contribution in O. Lafontaine and G. Schröder (eds),
Innovation für Deutschland (Göttingen: Steidl).
Lees, C. (2000) The Red
). There is an underlying assumption that
welfare and active labour market policies must be limited in order that there
may be no disincentives to take on ‘flexible’ work: ‘To ensure that most
participants are poor and to maintain incentives for workers to move on to
regular work when it becomes available, programs should pay no more than
the average wage for unskilled labor’ (World Bank, 2001: 156). This example,
drawn from the World Bank’s ‘principles of successful workfare programmes’,
demonstrates the market-centred logic of the flexibility discourse. Taken to its