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World povertyNew policies to defeat an old enemy$
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Peter Townsend and David Gordon

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781861343956

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861343956.001.0001

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date: 19 August 2017

Social policy in the US: workfare and the American low-wage labour market

Social policy in the US: workfare and the American low-wage labour market

(p.82) (p.83) FOUR Social policy in the US: workfare and the American low-wage labour market
World poverty

S.M. Miller

Jeanette E. Markle

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on the change in US social policy from welfare to workfare, and the importance of making improvements in the low-wage labour market to making this a successful transition. The political and social environment in which this transition is occurring includes two recent trends in US public policy: privatisation, and a general reduction in the role of the government. A major difficulty in constructing effective social policy is the inadequate US measure of poverty. The chapter argues that if the situation of workfare participants and other low-income persons is to be improved, then the low-wage labour market must be better coordinated with strong social programmes. The private sector alone cannot provide a decent standard of living in its current form. Lessons can be drawn from the experience of the US by other nations grappling with similar issues.

Keywords:   US social policy, labour market, privatisation, social programmes

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