Sunday, February 19, 2012

(National) Welfare and the Regulation of the Poor

Mike Konczal at Rortybomb posts some very interesting graphs that attempt to empirically establish the relationship between fluctuations in the provision of welfare benefits and changing labor market needs. This relationship has a long history in the political economy of welfare and poverty associated with Piven and Cloward’s work on regulating the poor.

The Rortybomb piece is part of a larger review of a new book by Joe Soss, et al., Disciplining The Poor: Neo-liberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race.

The book and these analyses are timely given the recent New York Times piece on expanding welfare state benefits.  This would all suggest that when the time comes for workers to return to the labor market – when there is actually a need to expand employment and hiring  in response to increases in consumer demand – welfare state provisions will be more sharply curtailed to force workers back into the labor market.

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