Managing Labour Market Transitions and Risks
Chapter 8: Managing Risks through Transitional Labour Markets: Can Flexibility and Security be Married?
8. Managing risks through transitional labour markets: Can ﬂexibility and security be married? There is no more paradox in this than there is in saying that motorcars are travelling faster than they otherwise would because they are provided with brakes. (Schumpeter 1976, p. 88) The argument developed in this ﬁnal chapter can be summarised by reformulating Schumpeter’s famous paradox pertaining to intellectual property protection: ‘There is no more paradox in “ﬂexicurity” than there is in saying that workers are more ﬂexible and creative than they otherwise would be because they are provided with security’. This paradoxical marriage of ﬂexibility and security has already been strongly promoted by the European Employment Taskforce, which published its report Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Creating More Employment in Europe in November 2003 (Kok et al. 2004). The title of this report was contested, and in some countries even badly received, because to many people the term job connotes nonstandard low-quality employment. However, the report clearly regarded security as a prerequisite for the acceptance of ﬂexibility, albeit in a new sense: 1. Job security in the sense of preserving a job for life is abandoned. Instead, the emphasis is on employability, decent pay and good working conditions. Individualised assistance in ﬁnding a job and transferable social rights to foster mobility become therefore a priority. People should be encouraged to take risks. Social-security institutions, especially pension systems, should therefore be conceived in a way that rewards rather than punishes people for accepting ﬂexible jobs. Denmark and The Netherlands...
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