Chapter 3, ‘Growth strategies and consumption patterns in transition: From Fordism to finance-driven capitalism’ by Max Koch discusses growth strategies and consumption patterns in transition, taking a historical perspective from Fordism to finance-driven capitalism. The author applies a combination of the regulation approach and Bourdieusian sociology and reflects that consumption-oriented purchase decisions are neither ‘spontaneous’ nor ‘individual’, but influenced by structural factors such as social class and state strategies, of which neither consumers nor consumption industries are usually aware. The chapter also argues that the regulation approach is compatible with Bourdieusian sociology; more specifically, Bourdieu’s concept of ‘habitus’ as an alternative to rational choice theories as well as a bridge between ‘objective’ social structures, including patterns of inequality and consumption and ‘subjective’ lifestyles. The introduction of the regulation approach and Bourdieusian cultural sociology provides a combined concept for the analysis of societal consumption patterns within wider capitalist growth strategies. This is subsequently applied to a comparison of the two main growth strategies after World War II: Fordism and finance-driven capitalism. Future research should be dedicated to unifying fragmented proposals for ‘eco-social policies’ and formulate a coherent strategy for the economic, political and ecological restructuring of the advanced countries.
Håkan Johansson and Max Koch
While climate change is beginning to have an impact – and the window of opportunity to implement effective climate policies is narrow – welfare state scholarship has tended to analyse ‘welfare’ in terms of material benefits and has mainly focused on the various intricacies associated with the welfare–employment nexus. ‘Welfare’ is primarily measured in terms of material goods and this approach tends to overshadow other conceptualizations that are more linked to individual well-being. These latter perspectives may nevertheless influence the aims and objectives of welfare policy and could have a significant bearing upon whether contemporary social policies might play a part in transforming our societies into environmentally sustainable communities – and, if so, to what extent. This chapter points out why and, to some extent how, welfare state scholars may engage with environmental and climate change. It examines climate change as a new kind of social risk, reviews studies on the environmental performances of existing welfare states and regimes, as well as alternative conceptions of welfare and well-being, and also discusses the potential of ‘eco-social’ policies designed to address both environmental and welfare issues.