The welfare state has been under pressure since the mid-1980s and the onset of neo-liberal economic policies across Europe. Capital has used the current crisis to intensify this pressure further. In Southern Europe, this is often directly enforced through the Troika in exchange for bailout packages, but in other countries such as the UK too, drastic cuts are justified by reference to increasing national debt and the global financial crisis. Trade unions and civil society organisations have struggled hard to defend the welfare state, but it has been a defensive struggle all the way and many aspects have already been lost. Trade union rights have been curbed in many countries, key industries such as telecommunications and postal services privatised and core services such as health and education increasingly marketised. Full employment policies have been a thing of the past for quite some time. In this blog post, I will reflect on the nature and contents of the welfare state and the possibilities of defending its achievements.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Globalisation has put national labour movements under severe pressure due to the increasing transnationalisation of production and informalisation of the economy. A new research project on Globalization and thePossibility of Transnational Actors: The Case of Trade Unions, led by Prof. Knut Kjeldstadli at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo, investigates to what extent trade unions may be able to develop into transnational actors in order to counter these pressures successfully.
Thursday, 5 September 2013
As part of the austerity programmes across Europe in response to the economic crisis, European Union (EU) institutions have increasingly become involved in an attack on trade union rights. In this guest post, Anne Dufresne highlights especially the attack on national wage formation and considers potential responses by European trade unions.
Monday, 2 September 2013
Democratic global Keynesianism as a way out of crisis? Critical reflections on Heikki Patomäki’s The Great Eurozone Disaster.
When the financial market crisis in 2007 and 2008 threatened the global economy, governments around the world stepped in and bailed out many financial institutions, which were on the brink of collapse. Large amounts of private debt were transformed into public debt. In the Eurozone, this resulted in the sovereign debt crisis. In his excellent book The Great Eurozone Disaster: From Crisis to Global New Deal (Zed Books, 2012), Heikki Patomäki not only provides an insightful analysis of the crisis, but he also makes clear recommendations for the best way out of crisis.