Starts by discussing the perennial welfare state crisis, making the point that the contemporary crisis differs notably from its forebears. Rigidity is an endogenous symptom of the crisis, and the various symptoms include demographic ageing, and the growing risks of poverty and social exclusion (which spring from the malfunctioning of the labour market and the family). The aim of the book is to come to terms with the new political economy—the post‐industrial economy—that is emerging. To do this it pursues a set of interlinked arguments: the so‐called welfare state crisis, in which debate has been too focused on the state, when it should be on the interaction between the component parts of contemporary welfare regimes such as labour markets, the family, and the welfare state itself; the fact that the real crisis of contemporary welfare regimes lies in the disjuncture between the existing institutional construction and exogenous change; and the fact that the emerging risks of post‐industrial society come primarily from the revolution that is unfolding in both labour markets and households. Four phenomena form the unifying theme of the book: equality, risks, jobs, and the new political economy. Risks and jobs are dealt with in separate chapters; the introduction discusses equality and the new political economy.
Keywords: ageing, contemporary welfare regimes, demographic ageing, demography, equality, exogenous change, family, family, households, jobs, labour markets, new political economy, post‐industrial economy, poverty, rigidity, risks, social exclusion, symptoms, welfare regimes, welfare state crisis, welfare state
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