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New Capitalism?

Kevin Doogan

ISBN: 978-0-745-65769-1 August 2013 Polity 248 Pages


In this stimulating and highly original work, Kevin Doogan looks at contemporary social transformation through the lens of the labour market. Major themes of the day — globalization, technological change and the new economy, the pension and demographic timebombs, flexibility and traditional employment — are all subject to critical scrutiny.

We are often told that a new global economy has emerged which has transformed our lives. It is argued that the pace of technological change, the mobility of multinational capital and the privatization of the welfare state have combined to create a more precarious world. Companies are outsourcing, jobs are migrating to China and India, and a job for life is said to be a thing of the past. The so-called ‘new capitalism’ is said to be the result of these profound changes.

Kevin Doogan takes issue with these widely-accepted ideas and subjects the transformation of work to detailed examination through a comprehensive analysis of developments in Europe and North America. He argues that precariousness is not a natural consequence of this fast-changing world; rather, current insecurities are manufactured, emanating from neoliberal policy and the greater exposure of the economy to market forces.

New Capitalism? The Transformation of Work is sure to stimulate academic debate. Kevin Doogan's account will appeal not just to scholars, but also to upper-level students across the social sciences, including the sociology of work, industrial relations, globalization, economics, social policy and business studies.

List of figures and tables viii

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xii

Introduction 1

1 From Post-Industrial Society to New Capitalism: The Evolution of a Narrative of Social Change 16

2 Technological Change: Autonomization and Dematerialization 43

3 Globalization: Mobility, Transnationality and Employment 63

4 Theorizing the Labour Market 88

5 Globalization, Demographic Change and Social Welfare 114

6 The Flexible Labour Market and the Contingent Economy 143

7 Long-term Employment and the New Economy 169

8 Job Insecurity, Precarious Employment and Manufactured Uncertainty 194

9 Conclusion 207

References 215

Index 231

"Highly recommended - particularly significant with regard to the current crisis of the financial markets."
Journal of Contemporary European Studies

"A really valuable book which will remind everyone that our side still has power - if we use it."
International Socialism

"A well structured and attractively written text that represents a fine contribution to the analysis of contemporary development in the world of work."
Work, Employment and Society

"Doogan's New Capitalism? presents a challenging new vision of current and future connections between employees and employers. New Capitalism? provides a theoretically insightful and empirically informed critique of visions focused on the increasing precariousness of employment. A must read for scholars and students of work, economy and polity."
Randy Hodson, Ohio State University

"Reality is more intelligent than the prophets of “New capitalism”, who ask for radically deregulated financial, product and labour markets. With the present collapse, public bailout and re-regulation of the financial system, Doogan’s findings, that long term jobs have continued to grow as a productive asset for the economy, are particular welcome."
Peter Auer, Chief of the Employment Analysis and Research Unit, ILO, Geneva

"Kevin Doogan annihilates conventional wisdom on labour markets. The extraordinary wealth and depth of data which he has amassed will make readers wonder why so many were misled for so long. But Doogan has an answer for this too. The arrival of this book is a seismic event which will send shockwaves in every political direction."
Ralph Fevre, Cardiff University School of Social Sciences

"An excellent book."
Socialist Review

  • Offers an original and radical re-think of the state of the global labour market.
  • Argues against the oversimplified idea that the precariousness of the Western labour market is a natural result of globalisation and technological change, subjecting the transformation of work to a closer and more nuanced analysis.
  • Addresses some of the major political and economic issues surrounding work today such as: the pension crisis, downsizing and out-sourcing, the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies, changing patterns of work, etc.
  • Uses a wide variety of data as well as anecdotes – written accessibly for a wide audience interested in market and workplace transformations.
  • Kevin Doogan was an expert witness to the Committee of Enquiry held by House of Lords’ Select on the European Union which looked at new European labour markets.