Sometime in the 1970s the golden age of 'full employment' in the West came to an abrupt end. Today there are more than thirty million unemployed in the heartlands of the advanced industrial world and the numbers of jobless are projected to increase relentlessly to the end of the century. From Pennsylvania to the Ruhr, Belfast to Barcelona, countless manufacturing communities have been savaged and a large pan of a generation made 'redundant'.
In this major new study - indispensable to anyone concerned with the contemporary tragedy of unemployment - Göran Therborn undertakes the first systematic comparison of unemployment structures and policies in the sixteen major OECD states. He demonstrates the inability of conventional economic theory to account for either the persistence of high unemployment amid renewed growth, or the wide diversity of jobless levels between different states. Contrasting the chronic. unemployment of the UK and Belgium with the relatively low unemployment in Sweden and Austria, he shows the consequences of different national economic strategies. Invoking the examples of Japan and the United States, he weighs the dangers of economic dualism and the creeping 'Brazilianization' of job markets. His carefully differentiated analysis concludes with a fascinating summary of the different politics of unemployment and their implications for an alternative strategy for the labour movement.