Category Archives: Poverty and Inequality

Credit Union Modernisation and the Limits of Voluntarism

Stephen Sinclair
Stephen Sinclair

Stephen Sinclair ponders how far voluntarism can be pushed in his recent paper in Policy & Politics. In this blog he discusses what prompted him to the write the paper and gives an overview of the key themes.

Like many people, I have to attend a lot of meetings and not all of them are very interesting. So when what I expected to be a rather dry and technical event turned into a heated debate it is worth further reflection. There would seem no reason to expect a seminar outlining the UK government’s proposals to reform credit unions to be particularly contentious; however this paper discusses the raw nerve that this meeting exposed. The sensitive issue at stake was the basic questions of what and who credit unions are for. Continue reading Credit Union Modernisation and the Limits of Voluntarism

The Politics of Poverty in the European Union

Florence Larocque and Alain Noël

Florence Larocque and Alain Noël discuss their article on the politics of poverty in the European Union, published in the latest issue of Policy & Politics.

“Arguments about poverty,” note Paul Copeland and Mary Daly in a recent article, “go to the heart of political disagreement in Europe,” because they express profound differences about social policy and models of capitalism. The European commitment to fight poverty and social exclusion has thus moved over the years, from the ambitious decision to make social inclusion an explicit goal governed by the new Open Method of Coordination (OMC) with the Lisbon strategy in 2000, to a more circumscribed vision giving priority to economic growth and job creation after 2005, and to an ambiguous but nevertheless explicit quantitative target agreed upon in the summer of 2010, “to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion” by 2020. But changing orientations at the European level are not the only manifestation of political disagreement about poverty. Important differences are also expressed through the distinct ways member states have interpreted the common objectives. Continue reading The Politics of Poverty in the European Union

DEBATE: ‘Capitalism works only when the rewards are seen to be shared’

Policy & Politics Debates, July 2012
Sarah Ayres, Associate Editor, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol

The most recent ‘debates’ articles for Policy & Politics are written by Stewart Lansley (Visiting Fellow, University of Bristol) and Professor Kevin Doogan (Centre for Urban and Public Policy Research, University of Bristol).

Lansley charts the growth of inequality under capitalism since the 1970s. He contends that ‘the proceeds of economic growth have been increasingly colonised by a small financial and business elite’ and that this trend is unsustainable. The forces driving higher levels of inequality remain in place and this, it is argued, makes economies increasingly unstable and prone to crisis. You can read the article, ‘Capitalism works only when the rewards are seen to be shared’ for free here.

Doogan responds by suggesting that appeals for a ‘nicer capitalism’ are perhaps unrealistic and instead solutions need to be found in broad societal transformations, rather than incremental reforms of the capitalism system. His article, ‘A fairer capitalism?’ is also now available for free here.

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