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The Affluent Society Revisited$
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Mike Berry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686506

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686506.001.0001

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Economic Security *

Economic Security *

Chapter:
(p.51) 5 Economic Security*
Source:
The Affluent Society Revisited
Author(s):

Mike Berry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686506.003.0005

A key plank of Galbraith’s argument concerning the impact of affluence on contemporary society was the claim that the age-old problem of economic insecurity had all but disappeared as a factor in most people’s lives, especially in the America of his day. Developments since he wrote – particularly since the 1970s – have fatally undermined this bold position, at both the micro level of household and firm and the macro level of the economy at large. This chapter outlines the Galbraithian argument and then analyses the way recent developments have systematically undermined or reversed the forces he pointed to as driving the change to universal security. This discussion allows us to focus on the genesis and outcomes of the continuing trend to greater insecurity that characterizes the twenty-first century looking forward.

Keywords:   Economic Insecurity, great risk shift, precarious income, casualisation, mortgage stress, social insurance, bail-out, systemic crisis, market failure, business cycle

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