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Ann-Cathrine Jungar

This chapter asks whether Europe’s right-wing populist parties pose a threat to freedom of movement and to the Union’s fundamental values. The analysis shows that right-wing populist parties contribute to a better congruence of opinion between voters and parties in European party systems: as a result of their presence, the diverse preferences of voters on questions of immigration and the Union are reflected more fully. The author concludes from this that these parties have come into being and grown because there is a demand among certain groups of voters for their critical line on immigration and the EU. The chapter thus contends that right-wing populist parties put forward pertinent questions about the legitimacy of the EU, as well as about the limits of national, European, and global solidarity in the distribution of economic and social resources. The challenge for the established parties is to formulate answers to the questions that supporters of the right-wing populist parties ask.

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Martin Ljunge

This chapter examines how social trust gets conveyed across generations. By studying children of immigrants, the author traces how social trust is conveyed within the family. The analysis shows that children born to mothers from high-trust countries themselves show greater trust than do children born to mothers from low-trust countries. Children of mothers from high-trust countries also enjoy better health than do those whose mothers hail from low-trust ones. Furthermore, the results indicate that trust is a factor behind persistent differences in health and wealth between individuals and between countries. The author concludes that the EU and its member states can work actively to increase trust among citizens, and thus to reduce the long-term prosperity gap within and between EU countries.

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Lars Magnusson and Sofia Murhem

This chapter reviews how the Social Dialogue between unions and employers has evolved at the EU level, and asks whether it has a role to play in bridging the growing prosperity gap between the member states. The analysis shows that the Social Dialogue has diminished in importance over the past twenty years. The authors see several reasons to put a stop to this trend. Over the long run, they contend, a strong Social Dialogue can increase citizen support for the Union and strengthen its legitimacy. Through central agreements between the social partners, the European industry and labour market can develop in a way that benefits both sides. Thus the authors conclude that policy-makers ought to promote the Social Dialogue, as an important tool for reducing the prosperity gap between the member states, enhancing the legitimacy of the EU as a whole, encouraging labour mobility, and combatting xenophobia.

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Anna-Sara Lind

This chapter describes how the social rights which, according to the treaties, EU citizens possess, find expression in a Union which is suffering not just from an economic crisis, but from a crisis of confidence as well. The author argues that the confidence crisis itself puts limits on the prospects for realizing these rights, and undermines the solidarity between member states articulated in the Union’s basic treaties. The analysis in the chapter makes clear that the member states have taken a cautious line on the question of European social rights. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has found this to be a tricky and difficult area, and has hesitated to enter it. It is therefore crucial, the author contends, that the member states themselves take the next step. Within a framework of mutual cooperation, they must actively interpret and utilize the basic rules which have a bearing on social rights.

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Jenny Julén Votinius

This chapter addresses the differences in prosperity and well-being that follow from the high levels of youth unemployment in the EU. Not only do the member states that were hardest hit by the economic crisis have the highest levels of youth unemployment; equally important is the rapidly widening prosperity gap between generations in Europe’s labour market. The author reviews the many EU-level initiatives taken to combat youth unemployment following the crisis. Her analysis underlines the risks involved in adopting legislative reforms that weaken employment protection specifically for young employees. Reforms of this kind have worsened the prosperity gap between generations, since they mean that younger employees receive lower salaries and enjoy less job security than their older counterparts. Against this background, the author argues, it is essential that fundamental social rights are observed in relation to all citizens, including young persons in the EU’s workforce.

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Approaching Equality

What Can Be Done About Wealth Inequality?

Roger A. McCain

Drawing on some recent research (especially that of Piketty and his associates) and on older ideas (particularly from Sir Arthur Lewis), Roger McCain proposes policies that, together, would aim to reverse the observed tendency towards the concentration of wealth in market economies, thus ‘approach equality.’ The shortcomings and dangers of rising wealth inequality are discussed, both from the point of view of increasing instability and of equalitarian values.
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Can we “grow the middle class?”

What Can Be Done About Wealth Inequality?

Roger A. McCain

Revisits the definition of what Piketty calls the Patrimonial Middle Class and argues that what is significant in it is that it includes a component of the (Marxian) working class, a twentieth-century transformation of capitalism. From the point of view of modern macroeconomics, the puzzle is why everyone is not a member of the “middle class.” The utopian element in this view is discussed. The chapter then addresses the puzzle, which is that a majority of the population are not included in the middle class, and addresses this with an ordinary-language exposition of a model of wealth formation that extends the standard model in modern macroeconomics by allowing for “liquidity constraint,” arguing that it may be rational for an agent to fail to save in financial terms when the rate of return to formation of human capital is greater than the rate of return on financial capital. A mathematical model is presented that corresponds to the ordinary-language discussion of liquidity constraint and the rate of return to human capital formation in Chapter 6. A simplified diagrammatic exposition is also given.

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Anthony Hall

This chapter by Anthony Hall takes a critical look at cash transfers in Brazil and assesses their strengths and limitations as promoting social investments. Brazil’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) scheme, the world’s largest, which benefits more than a quarter of the country’s total population of more than 200 million, appears to embrace certain elements of a social investment approach, at least in principle. Following World Bank policy guidelines on CCTs, Bolsa Fam'lia aims to strengthen human capital formation by boosting school attendance and encouraging mothers’ participation in vaccination and other preventive health care campaigns. Although the government has announced plans to make the programme more production-oriented, there are few direct links with employment creation, which have remained largely hypothetical. Furthermore, in the quest to maximize electoral gains through a focus on widening cash benefits, there has been a noticeable failure to make any significant headway with broader and longer-term social investments in health, basic sanitation, education, and housing, for example. Such broad-based infrastructure support would serve to underpin the process of economic growth in a more sustainable fashion. This underlying tension will continue to frustrate any pretensions that Brazil might harbour towards developing an authentic social investment model, at least for the foreseeable future. Key words: social investment, international social welfare, Bolsa Familia, social protection, Brazil

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Leila Patel

This chapter by Leila Patel discusses the gender dimensions of the Child Support Grant (CSG) in South Africa. This is one of the country’s largest social protection programmes, reaching almost 40 per cent of poor children. The CSG is cited as a social investment in social care in the family and households yielding positive outcomes through the empowerment of women, which in turn contributes to improved child well-being. The author draws on national and community-level data on gender and care in South Africa. The data however also point to the limitations of social investment policies in promoting gender justice, especially where such social policies fail to challenge the gendered nature of care in the family, community and in the social service sector. Key words: social investment, international social welfare, social protection, gender, South Africa

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Civilizing the corporation

What Can Be Done About Wealth Inequality?

Roger A. McCain

A corporation is a power structure. Power structures limit the freedom of some people and magnify, but direct, the power of others. Some trends in economic thought about corporations, from Adam Smith to the present, are sketched and then some alternatives to, and modifications of, the for-profit corporation are surveyed. For worker cooperatives, there is extensive evidence of overall success and some limitations. These are surveyed. Other forms discussed are ESOPs, worker participation in management, codetermination, not-for-profit enterprises, B-corporations, multi-stakeholder cooperatives, quangos, and community cooperatives. The transition from existing to modified forms of business organization is discussed.