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Towards a Schumpeterian Workfare State? Preliminary Remarks on Post-Fordist Political Economy .

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1993
JournalStudies in Political Economy
Journal number40
Number of pages34
Pages7-40
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The Keynesian welfare state regimes that emerged during the long postwar boom are widely held to be in terminal decline but there is far less agreement upon the nature of the successor to such regimes. This is too large a topic to be covered in any detail here. Instead I will advance three general and somewhat speculative claims about current changes. First, a tendential shift is under way from the Keynesian welfare state (wherever it came to be established) to the Schumpeterian workfare state; second, national states in advanced capitalist economies are subject to an admittedly uneven three-way 'hollowing out'; and third, both tendencies are related to the transition in western economies from Fordism to post-Fordism. Although clearly linked to the same overall economic dynamic in the third claim, the first two claims can nonetheless be considered independently from each other. Conversely, all three claims could also be condensed into the single audacious aphorism that a 'hollowed-out' Schumpeterian workfare state provides the best possible political shell for post-Fordism. The basic assumptions and ideas involved in all four claims are summarized in this paper's first section. Further sections then contextualize the tendential shifts themselves, outline the mechanisms generating them, and outline three ideal-typical variant forms of the emerging regime. This theoretical work will also help to make the initial claims more concrete and indicate how they might be utilized in further research.