The causes of unemployment remain under-theorised. It remains the case, as Keynes ( 1973 ) claimed in the 1930s, that economic orthodoxy assumes efficient market ‘clearing’ but is therefore obliged to explain unemployment using a theory that assumes the phenomenon does not exist. Unemployment has to be explained away in terms of market ‘imperfections’. Elements of these orthodox accounts may be useful, and will be discussed below, but as stand-alone explanations they are unconvincing both theoretically and empirically (Sjöberg 2000 ). This
Unemployment and the State in Britain offers an important and original contribution to understandings of the 1930s. This is the first full-length study of the highly controversial household means test introduced by the National Government in 1931. The means test was often at the centre of public and private debates about unemployment, and it generated the largest examples of street protests in the interwar period. The book examines the construction of the image of the means test and claims that it worsened the position of the long-term unemployed. The idea that the test led families to separate, malnutrition and ill health to increase and suicide rates to escalate ensured its lasting significance politically and culturally. How the unemployed responded to the measure and the wider impact of collective action is a central theme of this book. Through a comparative case study of south Wales and the north-east of England the nature of protest movements, the identity of the unemployed and the wider relationship between the working class, local authorities, the police and the government is explored. Based upon extensive primary research, this study will appeal to students and scholars of the depression, social movements, studies of the unemployed, social policy and interwar British society.
Employment and unemployment on
Throughout the late twentieth century, the presence of mass unemployment was a consistent feature of Merseyside. Indeed, for much of this
period the name Liverpool itself became synonymous with joblessness
and all the negative images such deprived circumstances suggest. In this
chapter, Liverpool’s connection to unemployment in the late twentieth
century is charted. Prior to analysing economic trends and their relationship to employment and joblessness on Merseyside, we shall address
the complexity of
Unemployment and the depression
in interwar Britain
The man or woman who is in a job to-day may be out of a job tomorrow;
and, save at times of exceptional trade prosperity, the fear of the sack is
never long absent altogether from the worker’s mind. It means for every
worker a constant sense of insecurity, a knowledge that the continuance of
the means of livelihood depends on powerful forces which are almost
wholly outside his control. Nothing does so much to suppress the worker’s
natural instincts of resentment, to check the growth of a spirit of
The last quarter of the twentieth-century brought forth enormous change to the lives of working-class Britons. This transformation came mainly in the form of widespread industrial closure and the impoverishment associated with permanent unemployment. No British city bore closer witness to this phenomenon than Liverpool. The despair of joblessness and economic deprivation blighted Merseyside to a significantly greater extent than any other major British conurbation. Liverpool had frequently been prone to industrial unrest since 1945, but it was the dawn of Thatcher and the rise of neoliberal economics which made this city a nucleus of resistance against the encroaching tide of monetarism and sweeping de-industrialisation. This critique explores six case studies which illustrate how elements of a highly mobilized and politicized working-class fought against the rapid rise in forced redundancies and increasing industrial closures. Some of their responses included strikes, factory occupations, organising and politicizing the unemployed, effecting radical left-wing municipal politics, and sadly, even surrendering to violent civil unrest. This critique concludes that in the range, intensity and use of innovative tactics deployed during these conflicts, Liverpool stood out from every other British city. Liverpool was distinctive mainly because of its own unique history which involved a long, tortured, familiarity with poverty and mass unemployment.
uncertainty of active unemployment becomes the global work norm, the chronically poor
and the disaster-affected have blurred. In an unmediated relationship with their environments,
they are both subject to permanent emergency. They constantly change place and, at a time when
economy and disaster have blurred, from a post-humanitarian perspective, they become
indistinguishable. Since resilience is now equally required of the poor and exposed – as
well as the ‘first responders’ – the traditional distinction between
developmental and humanitarian relief
Middle-Aged Syrian Women’s Contributions to Family Livelihoods
during Protracted Displacement in Jordan
Dina Sidhva, Ann-Christin Zuntz, Ruba al Akash, Ayat Nashwan, and Areej Al-Majali
households transcend the local level,
taking into account the contribution (or lack of contribution) of absent others.
Existing NGO reports often focus on Syrian women’s relationships with
spouses, who are said to experience unemployment and their wives’ new
occupations as emasculating and a loss of ‘traditional’ pre-war
lifestyles ( Lokot, 2018 ). By contrast, we
zoom in on relationships between younger and older women. Life in exile and
recruited. Already in March 2018
when her colleague was sick, UNRWA did not find a ‘daily-paid’ substitute teacher
– instead, her class of thirty-five students had to ‘absorb’ the other
teacher’s class, leaving her to teach seventy children in her small classroom.
Such changes also mean that young Palestinians who had hoped to work for UNRWA –
including prospective teachers, doctors, clerical and facilities staff – will face
restricted employment possibilities, leading to increased levels of unemployment,
underemployment and related long
This book sees Keynes as neither villain nor hero and develops a sympathetic ‘left’ critique. Keynes was an avowedly elitist and pro-capitalist economist, whom the left should appropriate with caution. But his analysis provides insights at a level of concreteness which Marx’s analysis largely ignored and which were concerned with issues of the modern world which Marx could not have foreseen. A critical Marxist engagement can simultaneously increase the power of Keynes’s insight and enrich Marxism. To understand Keynes, whose work is liberally invoked but seldom read, the book first puts Keynes in context, explaining his biography and the extraordinary times in which he lived, his philosophy and his politics. The book describes Keynes’s developing critique of ‘the classics’, of mainstream economics as he found it, and summarises the General Theory. It shows how Keynes provides an enduringly valuable critique of orthodoxy but vital insights rather than a genuinely general theory. The book then develops a Marxist appropriation of Keynes’s insights. It argues that Marxist analysis of unemployment, of money and interest, and of the role of the state can be enriched through such a critical engagement. The book addresses Keynesianism after Keynes, critically reviewing the practices that came to be known as ‘Keynesianism’ and different theoretical traditions that have claimed his legacy. It considers the crisis of the 1970s, the subsequent anti-Keynesian turn, the economic and ecological crises of the twenty-first century, and the prospects of returning to Keynes and Keynesianism.
This book outlines the reasons for the development of and need for social democracy and the welfare state. It begins with the reaffirmation that post-2008 Anglo-America has seen the greatest concentration of wealth since the Great Depression, some nine decades earlier. The book reviews the thought of classical liberals like Adam Smith, democratic theorists like Alexis De Tocqueville and Matthew Arnold, and early social democrats like John Stuart Mill and Beatrice Webb. It further details the reasons for the derailing of the welfare state. Milton Friedman's ideas about the free market were institutionalized by Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, both of whom dismantled the welfare state, or as much of it as possible. The book talks about the collapse of the Grand Narrative of the Left in the 1980s and 1990s. How this led to the 'great forgetting' in Anglo-America, and to a lesser extent in continental European social democracies and welfare states as well, is discussed. The book argues that 'forgetting' the past success of social democracy has been costly. It highlights that globalization does not explain unemployment in Anglo-America; nor is it the cause of inequality in either the US or the UK. A comparison of Anglo-America's social model with the European social model of the welfare and social democratic states of continental Europe, follows. Even with the high unemployment rates of the European Union, most of Europe is still as economically efficient as the US and the UK.