Governing Social Risks in Post-Crisis Europe

Governing Social Risks in Post-Crisis Europe

Colin Crouch

In this illuminating book Colin Crouch examines the diverse approaches presented by advanced societies in their attempts to resolve a central dilemma of a capitalist economy: the need to combine buoyant mass consumption with insecure workers, subject to, and responsive to, the fluctuations of an unregulated global economy. He demonstrates that the approaches of different national economies have varying degrees of success, and diverse implications for social inequality. Through the study of European societies, and comparisons with experience from the rest of the world, Crouch scrutinizes this diversity, and looks at how the 2008 global financial crisis has impacted it.

Chapter 8: Governance, class challenge, inequality, innovation and capacity for solidaristic collectivity

Colin Crouch

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy


The previous chapters have established the existence of a number of governance profiles. This follows the analysis in Chapter 2 of the components of an enlarged view of labour-market security, based on means of resolving the tension between labour-market flexibility and stable mass consumption. But the relationship of this discussion to the security of actual working lives is not clear. First, there is the problem of what constitutes labour-market security. It cannot be equated to labour-market stability; that is, a tendency for workers to remain in the same job for many years; this can simply imply labour-market stagnation, which will probably end in economic decline and a collapse of security itself. This was the situation in the state socialist countries of Russia, eastern Europe and elsewhere. Nor should we equate security with the strength of laws making it difficult for workers to lose their jobs, as by itself and not accompanied by a wider range of labour policies this may well lead to the growth of precarious employment outside a protected core, as seems to be the case in much of SWE today. We also cannot equate it with the existence of open-ended rather than time-limited contracts, as in countries where employment protection laws are very weak (such as the USA) an open-ended contract might actually give less assurance of future employment than a time-limited one.

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