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Reinventing the Welfare State

Reinventing the Welfare State

Digital Platforms and Public Policies

Ursula Huws

Series: FireWorks

The welfare state is unfit for purpose – how can we transform it into a force for equality and social justice?

The British welfare state is over 70 years old. It was created to provide economic redistribution, universality of entitlement and collectively provided public services for all. In this book, leading analyst Ursula Huws argues that it is no longer fit for purpose, and in order to succeed in the 21st century, must be redesigned.

Huws focuses on some of the key issues of our time – the gig economy, Universal Credit, and gendered and domestic labour, to criticise the current state of welfare in this country. Drawing on a lifetime of research on these topics, she clearly explains why we need to radically rethink how it could change. With positivity and rigour, she proposes new and original policy ideas, including critical discussions of Universal Basic Income and new legislation for universal workers' rights.

She also outlines a 'digital welfare state' for the 21st century. This would involve a repurposing of online platform technologies under public control to modernise and expand public services, and improve accessibility.

Ursula Huws is Professor of Labour and Globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire. She has been carrying out pioneering research on the economic, social and gender impacts of technological change, employment restructuring and the changing international division of labour since the 1970s, combining scholarship with activism and popular writing.

'A searing critique of how welfare cuts have hit the most vulnerable hardest - and a compelling account of how we can rebuild social security with new tech. A must read for policymakers, campaigners and trade unionists.' - Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress

'Huws documents brilliantly how the welfare state has morphed into a machine for increasing inequality and distributing wealth upwards. Her solutions are radical, but in the post-Covid slump radicalism will be essential.' - Paul Mason, author of 'Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future'

'With remarkable precision, Ursula Huws provides a chilling account of how the British welfare state has been turned upside down, no longer a mechanism for reversing inequality but for enhancing the wealth of the super-rich. She then outlines a new welfare agenda, detailing the infrastructures necessary to enhance the lives of carers and cared for alike, as well as now essential for global sustainability overall. Not to be missed!' - Lynne Segal (from the Care Collective)

'Ursula Huws hits the nail on its head exposing the brutal exploitation of vulnerable workers as the gig economies flourish.' - Yaseen Aslam, President, App Drivers and Couriers Union, and lead claimant in the Aslam V Uber worker rights claim

'A must-read for those who seek to find a logical order behind the rapid and dramatic events of current times' - Brando Benifei, MEP and Vice President of the International European Movement

Preface
1. Introduction
2. What Has Happened to the Twentieth-century Welfare State?
3. What Has Happened in the Labour Market?
4. What Has Happened to Gender Equality?
5. Recalibrating the Mechanisms of Redistribution
6. A Universal Basic Income that is Genuinely Redistributive
7. A New Deal for Labour
8. Digital Platforms for Public Good
9. The Way Forward
Notes
Index
Published by Pluto Press in Sep 2020
Paperback ISBN: 9780745341842
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745341835
eBook ISBN: 9781786807090

240 pages

129mm x 198mm

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