Show Less
Restricted access

Activation Policies for the Unemployed, the Right to Work and the Duty to Work


Edited By Elise Dermine and Daniel Dumont

Since the 1990s and the 2000s, Western social protection systems have experienced a turn towards activation. This turn consists of the multiplication of measures aimed at bringing those who are unemployed closer to participation in the labour market. These measures often induce a strengthening of the conditions that must be met in order to receive social benefits.
It is in this well known context that the authors gathered in this book decided to take a closer look at the relationship between activation policies for the unemployed and the right and the duty to work. If activation measures are likely to increase transitions towards the labour market, we can also make the assumption that they may, particularly when they are marked with the seal of coercion, hinder or dramatically reduce the right to freely chosen work. In such circumstances, the realisation of the «right to work», which is often stated to be the aim of those who promote activation, tends in practice to be reduced to an increasing pressure being exerted on the unemployed. In this case, isn’t it actually the duty to work that is particularly reinforced?
After an historical and philosophical perspective on the issue, this assumption is confronted with the developments observed in the United States and in France, and then with the guidelines laid down in international human rights instruments. What follows is a discussion of two alternatives to the dominant activation model: the basic income guarantee and the employment guarantee.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Securing the Right to Work and Income Security




For approximately three decades following the end of the Second World War progressive reformers believed they knew how to achieve full employment in developed market economies – a condition they originally equated with 2 per cent unemployment.1 Recessions no longer scared them because of their confidence in Keynesian anti-cyclical policies. They were equally confident that these same policies could insure the availability of enough jobs to provide work for everyone who wanted it in a manner that supported rather than undermined efforts to improve job quality via labour market regulation and collective bargaining. The elevated unemployment rates suffered by disadvantaged population groups cast a cloud over this scenario, but progressives believed they could solve this problem with a combination of anti-discrimination legislation, offers of special labour market assistance, and the promotion of investment in the communities where disadvantaged workers lived. The achievement of full employment, or close to it, also supported the growth of the welfare state by reducing the number of people who needed government income assistance while simultaneously increasing the resources available to expand both targeted and universal social welfare benefits.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.