Wed, 24 Feb 2021, 14:00 (GMT)
Hosted by The Centre for Inequality, Culture and Difference at Nottingham Trent University
In this talk, Ursula Huws will discuss some of the ideas in her recent book, Reinventing the Welfare State: Digital Platforms and Public Policies, which looks critically at the UK welfare state and discusses how it might be reinvented for the 21st century. Drawing on her recent empirical research on platform labour, as well as the conceptual framework she presented in her 2019 book, Labour in Contemporary Capitalism: What Next? she will argue that the welfare systems and labour protection institutions put in place in the mid-20th century are no longer fit for purpose. Rather than attempting to patch them up, what is now needed is to revisit the original principles that underpinned it and find ways to reapply them in the new context. Looking, in particular, at the principles of universality, redistribution, decommodification and equality, she will ask what kinds of rights workers need in the digital age, how tax and benefit systems can be made more redistributive and how the potential of new technologies can be repurposed to provide new kinds of public service that both support social reproduction and help combat global heating.
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.
The welfare state is unfit for purpose – how can we transform it into a force for equality and social justice?