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The restructuring of work in Britain

. Within this debate, the neo-liberal assumption has been that wages are most flexible and competitive where their determination is decentralised. Different national models of wage determination are commonly contrasted in policy documentation, and a competitive ‘benchmark’ established: ‘In most countries where relative wages have been flexible (the US, Canada, UK, Australia), both the relative employment and unemployment rates of the unskilled changed little during the 1980s. In comparatively inflexible Europe, on the other hand, both relative employment and unemployment

in Globalisation contested

. (DeLillo, 2010: 101) Those urges to capture everything, to mark nodes, ways and relations, to monopolise movement cartographically, to laud diagrammatically over Witham as Captain James Cook did so in Botany Bay, Australia (Carter, 1987); where do these urges come from? In part, they stem from the discursive and cultural baggage that has become welded to cartography; the discipline’s associations with colonialism, monopoly and meta-narrative. Importantly, the focus of this chapter on the experiential is not meant as a disavowal of other well-known linguistic and

in Time for mapping

OECD’s Jobs Strategy typifies the policy recommendations that accompany claims to a flexibilised and competitive labour force (see Table 1.1). Intensified global competition, according to those advocating neo-liberal flexibilisation, means that all state-societies must restructure along the lines of this model. Indeed, in a report that compares the relative success of member countries in implementing the Jobs Strategy recommendations, the OECD identifies the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland as having made ‘significant policy developments’ in the

in Globalisation contested
The restructuring of work in Germany

continental European state-societies, unfavourably with the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, on the basis of its incremental restructuring programme ‘at the margins’: ‘Instead of relaxing general employment protection provisions, some governments have preferred to introduce short-term contracts and liberalise employment protection for part-time workers in small firms (e.g. Germany, France, Belgium)’ (OECD, 1997: 8). Despite some apparent concessions to the discourse of flexibility, seen for example in greater devolution of bargaining to the workplace and wage

in Globalisation contested