John Keane | About the Book
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About the Book

After Full Employment

Authors: John Keane and John Owens
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Hutchinson Educational (1987)
Languages: English
ISBN-10: 0091640911
ISBN-13: 978-0091640910

Politicians of all parties still talk confidently of ‘a return to full employment’, but is this any longer a realistic – or desirable – prospect? John Keane and John Owens argue that it is not.

Their book analyses, at an introductory level, the four main and competing political interpretations of the causes of unemployment and the future of paid work- social democracy. free market liberalism, the disciplinary state, and utopian socialism. Considered together these four interpretations are highly revealing- and challenging. They raise considerable doubts about the viability or desirability of policies designed to ‘get the jobless back to work’.

Keane and Owens’ central argument is that the post-war policy of full male employment, as well as its political, economic and social preconditions, are not repeatable. Starting with Keynes and Beveridge, they explain how and why full employment welfare states developed in Britain and the US, and how they have in turn been replaced by the ‘strong state, free market’ programmes of Thatcher and Reagan.

By focusing on an issue which is currently as the heart of political debate, the book provides a lucid and approachable guide to four key strands of political thought in Britain and the US. It will be an ideal introductory text for students of politics, sociology and economics.