Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment
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Handbook of the Politics of Labour, Work and Employment

Edited by Gregor Gall

Providing a thorough overview of the political nature and dynamics of the world of work, labour and employment, this timely Handbook draws together an interdisciplinary range of top contributors to explore the interdependent relationship between politics and labour, work and employment. The Handbook explores the purpose, roles, rights and powers of employers and management, workers and unions, states and governments in the age of globalised neo-liberalism.
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Chapter 5: The neo-liberal state and the regulation of class relations

Chris Howell


This chapter first makes the case for understanding why the state is a central actor in employment relations before examining how its role has changed in the period since the exhaustion of Fordist growth some 35 years ago, and how and why forms of state intervention and regulation with regard to class relations vary across different national types of political economy. It argues that the state is inevitably involved in the regulation of class relations by virtue of the contradictory, unruly, conflictual nature of the operation of the capitalist economy, and the tension that exists in democratic capitalist polities between the imperative of accumulation and the need for legitimation and political responsiveness.

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