International Class Conflict and Social Policy

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The history of welfare states is marked by divisions between capital and labour and these divisions are replicated at the international level. At the heart of these divisions is enduring class interests which accord different priorities to social and economic factors. That these divisions exist is neither surprising, nor necessarily a problem; the problem, this paper argues, is the increasingly high priority given to business interests by ever more powerful international governmental organisations. This paper presents an analysis of power in the global economy before investigating the social policy preferences of key international capital and labour organisations. It argues that international class mobilisation has failed to produce very much of a compromise on the part of capital, and that, if anything, international social policy discourse is today even closer to business than it has ever been.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • class
  • welfare_state

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