Globalization and a Welfare State

Keywords: Distributional Economics; Globalisation & Trade; Labour Studies; Regulation & Taxation; Social Policy;

In 1997 I commenced writing a book Globalization and a Welfare State. I finished about three fifths of the first draft and stopped. This was partly because other matters were using my energies, but also because I felt that the book was too technical and would not find a commercial market in New Zealand. I am putting the book on the website for those people who might be interested in some aspects of its contents.

The contents immediately below give a sense of the scope of the book (and the formal framework in which it is written) as does the prologue. There were to be five parts, each representing a decade of New Zealand. Within each part there were to be four chapters which covered aspects of the development of the welfare state in that period.


Prologue (1000 words)

1: The Economic Miracle (2900 words)
2: Welfare Based on Categories (2400 words)
3: The Progress of Poverty (2800 words)
4: The Social Costs of Unemployment with Appendix: Measuring Unemployment (2900 words)

5: The Great Diversification (2300 words)
6: Gender in the Traditional Welfare State (6500)
7: Assessing a Poverty Line (8200 words)
8:Labour Market Segmentation (3100 words)

9: Internationalization and Stagnation (3400 words)
10: Entitlement and Taxation (3000 words)
11: The Growth of Inequality with Appendix Maori Incomes (7400 words)
12: The Social Wage (not drafted) but Appendix to Chapter 12: Providing for Retirement (7400 words)

13: Globalization (not drafted)
14: The Shift to the Residual Welfare State (not drafted)
15: Wages and Work (not drafted)
16: Privatizing Supply (not drafted)

17: What Sort of Welfare State? (not drafted)
18: Meaningful Employment (Incomplete 2100 words)
19: Getting the Distributions Right (not drafted)
20: Supplying the Welfare State (not drafted)

The available text is being put up on the website, largely as it was left at the end of 1997, without the benefit of revision or editing, or without any updating arising from my subsequent reading and work. It may therefore be of historic interest, although some of the ideas remain relevant to this day.

The following is an extract from a letter I wrote about the book, which may give a sense of the task I had set myself

While the least mechanical in my family, I have noticed how mechanics strip down a favourite vehicle – component by component, examining, cleaning, repairing and where necessary replacing each, to reassemble their cherished machine into a far better performance for the tasks a head of it. That is what I am trying to do here, in regard to the welfare state. An additional complication is that the vehicle once performed superbly on the flat plains of Canterbury. While I would rather be living in Christchurch, I do not have the option, and have to reconstruct it for the precipitous and narrow topography of, say, Wellington. So some of the reconstruction is going to have to be substantial, and the result may sometimes be a machine which appears little to do with the elegant Canterbury speedster. It is only when you have seen the component by component change that the relationship is evident. I too look forward to the end of the book, but already it is clear to me that to retain the integrity and viability of the New Zealand welfare state we are going to have to make some major changes to its workings. In the interim, it is one damned component after another.

Alas, the book is not going to be finished. I wonder what I would have concluded?

Next Chapter Prologue: A Unique Welfare State – and A Changing One