Work and Idleness

The Political Economy of Full Employment

  • Jane Wheelock
  • John Vail

Part of the Recent Economic Thought Series book series (RETH, volume 66)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction

  3. Theories of Full Employment

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Irene Bruegel, Deborah M Figart, Ellen Mutari
      Pages 69-83
    3. Christer Sanne
      Pages 85-96
  4. Who Needs Work?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 97-97
    2. Geneviève Reday-Mulvey
      Pages 119-129
    3. Neil Lunt, Patricia Thornton
      Pages 131-142
    4. Rachel Woodward
      Pages 143-154
  5. Blueprints For Action

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Jared Bernstein, Lawrence Mishel, John Schmitt
      Pages 157-181
    3. Giuseppe Fajertag
      Pages 219-233
    4. Hilary Wainwright, Paul Gosling
      Pages 235-252
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 285-329

About this book


Work and Idleness develops the view that redistributing employment is a `feasible capitalist' solution, not just to the unemployment which particular groups suffer, but also to the work that others have to contend with, including many women. Putting the redistribution of employment on the policy agenda opens up debate on how to ensure a more equitable and fulfilling relationship between the ways we gain our livelihoods and the lives we lead.
Growing insecurity in labour markets and changing patterns in the commodification of labour have led to a redistribution of paid and unpaid labour time as the structure of power relations, the gender order, discrimination, and state regulation have been modified. The first main trend affecting insecurity is mass unemployment and the growth of workless households. A second notable trend is a gender-based redistribution of hours worked. The third major trend is a shift from full-time waged work to full-time self-employment.
Part I of this book presents the main economic theories driving the continuing divide between the intensification of work and the extension of idleness. Part II documents the ways in which the shift to mass idleness in advanced industrial countries has hit some groups particularly hard: the youngest and oldest age groups and other groups, including disabled workers, have traditionally been subject to discrimination in the labor markets. Part III provides a set of policy prescriptions.


Employment Keynes employment policy labor market labor markets labour political economy unemployment

Editors and affiliations

  • Jane Wheelock
    • 1
  • John Vail
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleNewcastle upon TyneUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-5889-6
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-4397-4
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-199X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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Finance, Business & Banking