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A Left Trilemma: progressive public policy in an age of austerity

Taylor-Gooby, Peter (2012) A Left Trilemma: progressive public policy in an age of austerity. Policy network, London (KAR id:33610)

Language: English
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Progressive public policy in the age of austerity

Why is it so hard for the left to produce a coherent and progressive response to the crisis, when market neoliberalism has so obviously failed? This new Policy Network paper argues that the British Labour party and other European left-of-centre parties are caught-up in a public policy trilemma.

The left must respond adequately to the economic crisis to be seen as competent, it must address the established themes in public opinion to be electable, and it must develop generous and inclusive policies, to be progressive.

The paper identifies conflicts in all three areas:

• Low public sector productivity growth and demographic shifts tighten already harsh spending constraints.

• Entrenched public suspicions of higher taxes for any but the distant rich and a public discourse which makes rigid distinctions between those who are deserving and undeserving of state welfare conflict with egalitarian or redistributive policies.

• Both spending constraints and the key themes in public opinion conflict with generous and inclusive policies.

In reviewing a range of policy programmes, A Left Trilemma reflects on the tough choices facing social democrats if they are to shift public discourse in a more supportive direction

Item Type: Book
Uncontrolled keywords: Austerity; welfare state; reform; progressive public policy; social democracy; welfare state trilemma
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2013 15:07 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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